Pagara, Barriga headline OPSI’s ‘bubble’ fight card

Edri Aznar
·3 min read

CEBU will have its second taste of “bubble boxing” as Omega Pro Sports International (Opsi) holds a two-part boxing show that features the likes of Albert Pagara and former Olympian Mark Barriga on Dec. 18, 2020 at the IPI Compound in Mandaue City.

“Yes. We are holding an event and Dec. 18 is the date,” OPSI vice president Jerome Calatrava told SunStar Cebu. “We are co-promoting this event with MTK Global, Kohi LTD and PMI.”

The event will have two parts, one in the afternoon and the second part in the evening.

“We can’t have more than five fights in one card because of IATF protocols. That’s why we divided it into two parts. The first event is at 1 p.m., while the second event is at 7 p.m on that same day,” said Calatrava.

The first show is headlined by Pagara and Barriga will be the co-headliner.

The 26-year-old Pagara (32-1, 23 KOs), now handled by MTK Global, is up against tough veteran Virgil Puton in his first fight in more than a year.

Barriga (9-1, 1 KO), on the other hand, also makes his ring return after close to a three-year hiatus against Ricky de los Santos (2-1). Barriga last saw action in 2018 in a split decision defeat to Carlos Licona for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) strawweight strap in the US.

The first part has two more fights, Regie Suganob (4-0, 1 KO) trades leathers with Robert Ates (4-7, 2 KOs) and Mark Magsayo’s cousin Benny Cañete makes his pro debut against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Pete Apolinar (12-1, 8 KOs) headlines the second part of the show, which features the Omega Boys. He takes on Danny Tamipi (9-11-2, 5 KOs).

In the undercard, IBF No. 9 light flyweight Christian Araneta (18-1, 14 KOs) locks horns with Roland Jay Biendima (15-6-1, 8 KOs), World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 10 light flyweight Mark Vicelles (12-0-1, 6 KOs) faces a yet-to-be-determined foe, Tomjune Mangubat (11-2-1, 9 KOs) slugs it out with Reymond Empic (7-5, 3 KOs) and unbeaten prospect Carlo Bacaro (6-0, 5 KOs) squares off with Ryan Maano (5-9-2, 1 KO).

Opsi has already been given the go signal by the Games and Amusements Board and the Mandaue City Government to promote the event.

The fighters will be entering “The Bubble” 14 days before the fight and will be swabbed seven days before the weigh-in.

“We will house the fighters 14 days before the fight. RT PCR tests is seven days before weigh-in,” said Calatrava. “We have learned a lot of things (since the first “Bubble” event). The observance of IATF protocols is a big deal so we can successfully hold a boxing event and ensure that everyone comes out safe after the event.”

Opsi was the first boxing promotional outfit to successfully promote a pro boxing event amid the Covid-19 pandemic.