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Mario Barrios returns home for first title defense

'El Azteca' squares off against fellow Texan Ryan Karl inside the Alamodome on Halloween night.

SAN ANTONIO — Southwest High School product Mario Barrios returns home to face Ryan Karl in the Alamodome Halloween night. Barrios is a perfect 25-0 looking to defend his WBA Super lightweight belt for the first time since winning it in September of 2019. Barrios will fight in the Alamo City for the fifth time in his career.

Below is a snippet from the conversation he had with KENS 5 sports reporter Evan Closky before the bout at the end of the month:

Evan: Having a fight in San Antonio, in the Alamodome, what does that mean to you? 

Mario: I had been promising I was going to bring big fights to San Antonio. The weekend I got the news (and) announced it. I was so super hyped about it. I got a tremendous amount of support in San Antonio. I'm very, very humbled to have that support.  

Evan: What does it mean to go out there in the ring and do your thing in front of hometown fans? Especially with just how hard you've been grinding to get to this point in your career? 

Mario: Whenever I fight back home I'm able to see the actual fans, you know, the locals or even just, you know, people from Texas that are able to be at the fights and support (me). It's amazing. I can't put it into words. Every time I have fought back home it has been an astounding turnout. I know come (October 31) it's going to be no different.  

Evan: What has this year-plus in life been like for you? It has been awhile since we've seen you in the ring. 

Mario: The fight was originally going to be scheduled at the beginning of May. Well, you know, due to everything with COVID it just got pushed back. We didn't know when it was going to be set again. I mean, it has been a lot of hurry up and wait. As always, I do my job in the gym and stay ready.  

Evan: It seems like for a person who has a title in his hand, I feel like you still have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder.  

Mario: I mean, that remains true. You know, even to this day certain posts I make there's people that bring up the last fight. I mean, they have to get over it. I have the title. I have the zero on my record. They're going to have to deal with it and I'm going to go out on (Halloween) and defend (the championship belt) proudly in my city of San Antonio.