Mario Barrios Coming Home With Something To Prove

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Unbeaten 140-pound contender highlights the Showtime Extreme-televised undercard action March 10 on Mikey Garcia-Sergey Lipinets card from San Antonio, Texas.

Mario Barrios looks at his next opponent, Eudy Bernardo, as the perfect platform.

Not only is Barrios, a 22-year-old 140-pound contender, fighting in his hometown of San Antonio, but he is sharing the stage with some of the top boxers in the division who are fighting in championship matches.

While all eyes may be on the main event where Sergey Lipinets defends his 140-pound title against three-division champion Mikey Garcia, or the co-main that features Rances Barthelemy battling Kiryl Relikh for a vacant 140-pound title, Barrios has a chance to put on his own eye-opening performance for the hometown crowd at Freeman Coliseum on a Showtime Extreme-televised card on March 10 (8 p.m. ET/PT).

“I haven’t been back home in a while, and I’m looking forward to putting on a tremendous performance in front of my family and hometown fans," Barrios said. “If the knockout comes, early or late, I’ll take it. If not we’re going in there to do what we do best, and that’s win. After that, I’ll sit down and watch the two big title fights.”

Barrios (20-0, 12 KOs), who started out at 122 pounds and campaigned mainly at 130, is skipping the 135-pound division to compete at 140 pounds. It won’t be much of a stretch for the 6-foot tall Barrios. He is confident and he has grown significantly since adding trainer Virgil Hunter to his corner. This will be the fifth fight that he has worked with Hunter. The previous four have all ended in knockouts.

“Working with Virgil has helped me grow intellectually and physically. We’re making significant progress as my strength and power have carried up,” said Barrios.

“I’ve naturally filled out into this weight class. This is the perfect card to set up the division for the coming months, with the co-main and main events being 140-pound championship fights. I’m trying to show that I’m on the level where I can get one of those [titles] either later this year or early next year.”

The 31-year-old Bernardo (23-2, 17 KOs) has scored consecutive first-round knockouts, rebounding from back-to-back losses. Barrios, who is 3-0 with two knockouts in San Antonio, has studied Bernardo.

“I never try to predict a knockout, and Bernardo’s a solid fighter with power and experience. But this is my time to shine at 140, and I know I’m capable of delivering that type of knockout performance,” Barrios said.

I haven’t been back home in a while, and I’m looking forward to putting on a tremendous performance in front of my family and hometown fans. Undefeated 140 pound contender Mario Barrios

Barrios has been among the most active fighters over the past three years, going 13-0 with nine KOs since the start of 2015. Following the win over Devis Boschiero in July 2016, his first and only career 12-round bout, Barrios seemed poised to threaten the 130-pound division.

But with his 6-foot frame still developing, Barrios abandoned his campaign in that weight class toward the end of the year and began working with Hunter.

He will watch the two title matches that follow his fight with keen interest.

“I’m happy take any of them on, so it doesn’t matter who I fight first,” said Barrios. “They’re all champions and top-level fighters on the platform I’m trying to reach. I want to be a world champion, and we’re getting closer and closer to an opportunity for that title shot.”

Undefeated Alejandro Luna kicks off the SHO EXTREME telecast against former world title challenger Richard Commey in a 12-round IBF Lightweight Title Eliminator.  The IBF champion is Robert Easter, who Commey fought to close-split decision for the vacant IBF belt in 2016. 

Luna (22-0, 15 KOs) and Commey (25-2, 22 KOs) enter this fight ranked 11th and 3rdrespectively by the IBF. The 26-year-old Luna, fighting out of Bellflower, Ca., most recently dominated Andrey Klimov on his way to a unanimous decision last April and faces his toughest competition to date on March 10. Commey rebounded from the narrow defeat to Easter and a subsequent close loss to Denis Shafikov with a unanimous decision victory last March in his native Ghana.

"Commey's a tough competitor whose losses were very close, disputable fights that could have gone either way, so I'll go in being smart, using my jab and sticking to our game plan," said Luna. "We're both boxer-punchers who like to mix it up, throw bombs and brawl if we have to. There's going to be a lot of action and we might steal the show. We'll give the fans their money's worth, either way."

Also in undercard action at Freeman Coliseum, unbeaten prospect Brandon Figueroa takes on Mexico's Jonathan Aguilar in an eight-round super bantamweight bout that

Figueroa (14-0, 9 KOs), the younger brother of former lightweight champion Omar Figueroa, will make his 2018 debut against the 24-year-old Aguilar (20-7, 17 KOs), after picking up four wins in 2017.

"I'm happy to be on such a big card. San Antonio is like my second home," said Figueroa, who is 5-0 with four knockouts in San Antonio. "I'm getting a lot of exposure fighting on this world class event that is headlined by Mikey Garcia. It's the kind of step-up I need. Little by little I'm becoming well-known, not only in the United States, but by people from around the world."

For a closer look at Mario Barrios, check out his fighter page.

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