Hope. It’s the reason we fight, it’s what fuels our charge, and it’s what gives us courage. Lone Filipino boxer, 19-year-old Mark Anthony Barriga, was like a dealer of hope. And the nation surely got its fix and was euphoric over his first victory in London.
Behind every punch was a country closely watching, analyzing, and holding their breath, not wanting to let this chance pass them by. It’s as if 90 million Filipinos crowded that boxing ring and were landing the punches. The red corner was elated with every blow.
Twitterverse again played a big role in echoing support for the Panabo, Davao del Norte native. ABAP executive director Ed Picson, though, is making sure he does not get distracted.
But still, tweets kept coming from all directions like Barriga’s punches on Italy’s Manuel Cappai.
Honed by years of watching Manny Pacquiao and other professional Filipino boxers, Pinoys easily turned into boxing analysts like @ralphsamoy who tweeted “Legit punching speed, (Barriga) displayed good defense and footwork. Looks like a knockout puncher too. Impressive.” A tweet from @joshtadena reads: Barriga's left counter is crispy! He's hard to get hit as well! Cappai was outclassed from the start! “Splendid display of speed, composure and skills”, exclaimed @iamnotGIBO.
Despite giving up 4 inches to his opponent, Barriga stood taller. @THEconqueror14 noted how Barriga is “small but terrible and a beast inside the ring!” @torchie82 shared “the size of a Pinoy's heart cannot be contained in Barriga's diminutive stature!” In short, like what @Kayoungelika said, “he proved that size doesn't matter.”
He made people believe that an elusive medal is indeed possible. @jmdrumfreak explains “Mark is our only hope now. We smell gold”. Although @Ajfabilia says there’s “so much pressure for this young boxer”, people like @chaveeee tweets “despite carrying the Filipino people in his fists, there’s a lot of promise in this young kid!”
The nation celebrated after every single round, the first ending with a favorable 5-2 lead for the Pinoy. Confidence was oozing , mostly from the people watching the fight, as the second round ended in a 4-2 score still in favor of Barriga. When the final round ended and the score was shown 17-7, the first Pinoy victory was made official. Extremely happy were @jhelmmy and his household. “Salamat po sa panalo, buong bahay po naming nagchi-cheer para sa kanya. Hanggang sa gintong medalya, magchi-cheer po kami!”
Most like @cecille41_cez took note of Barriga’s humility in victory. “So proud at how Barriga pointed at the Philippine flag on his gear after he was announced as the winner of the match!” It gave @rain_cpl a sense of pride because somehow she contributed in her little way. “Nun nasa mall ako nakita ko yung donation box para sa boxing. Sabi ko kahit barya lang at dasal sana makatulong ako.”
That was one of the projects of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines under its President Ricky Vargas who wanted involve the entire nation in sports development through its Suntok Ginto program. Now Barriga has made that huge leap and is a taking a stab at that gold we’ve all been longing for.
This one victory not only sent waves of congratulatory messages for Barriga but also evoked discussion on how Pacquiao-esque he seemed. There were some who were even reminded of a young Pacquiao.
With all the reaction on social networking sites and trending worldwide at that, Mark Barriga is definitely the new TWEEPLE’S CHAMP.