INSIDE THE RING: The Champ Returns

Mario Barrios returns to the ring to finally defend his world title.

SAN ANTONIO – By the time Mario Barrios enters the ring as the world champ, it would have been almost 365 days since he won that title.

On September 28, 2019, Mario Barrios defeated Batyr Akhmedov by unanimous decision to win the WBA World Super Lightweight championship belt.

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On September 26, Barrios will finally have the chance to defend the belt he chased his entire career.

Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) will face Texas native Ryan Karl (18-2, 12 KOs) in a 12-round bout at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Barrios vs. Karl fight will be one of four title fights on the Showtime/Premier Boxing Champions PPV card.

The Southwest High School grad left for Oakland, California late last week to begin training with Virgil Hunter. It was thought by many that “El Azteca” would defend his title against Akhmedov, who felt he should have won and demanded a rematch from the WBA, which was granted at the time. Barrios told KSAT 12 Sports last year that he was more than willing to give Akhmedov the chance to fight him again.

Since then, COVID-19 turned the sports world on it’s head and many fights in boxing have been rearranged. Akhmedov has yet to fight this year as well as Barrios.

Ryan “Cowboy” Karl, who currently lives in Houston, has not fought since November of last year. Karl is currently on a three-fight knockout streak after losing his second professional fight by technical knockout in 2018. Barrios was on an eight-fight knockout streak prior to his championship fight.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 Sports for over 17 years and is an award-winning sports producer. To submit story ideas, email

About the Author

Daniel P. Villanueva has been with KSAT 12 since 2003 and is the producer of our weekly sports show, "Instant Replay." Villanueva is a graduate of St. Mary's University and is a TAPB and Lone Star Emmy award winner.

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