Philippines, 11 Dec 2018
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Viloria, Nietes ready for battle

Former WBC/IBF lightflyweight and WBO/WBA flyweight champion Brian Viloria will face unbeaten Azerbaijan-born Ukrainian Artem Dalakian for the vacant WBA 112-pound crown while IBF flyweight titlist Donnie Nietes stakes his belt against No. 1 contender Juan Carlos Reveco of Argentina on the same card at the Forum in Inglewood, California, this morning (Manila time) with both Filipinos expected to go all out to win decisively for the chance to eventually move up to the lucrative superflyweight division where the paychecks are considerably bigger.

Both fights will be shown live via satellite on Philippine TV but over different networks. Viloria’s bout will be aired on ESPN5 starting at 9 a.m. ABS-CBN will telecast the Nietes match because of its partnership with the fighter’s ALA management team.

At Friday’s weigh-in, both Viloria and Dalakian scaled 111.4 pounds. Nietes was 111.6 but Reveco had several tries before ring officials decided he was 112 on the dot. Under IBF championship rules, Nietes and Reveco must weigh in once more on the morning of the fight with a limit of 10 pounds over 112.

Viloria’s trainer Marvin Somodio said at 37, the Hawaiian Punch is “looking great.” Somodio, who is Freddie Roach’s chief assistant at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, added that “this is the best Brian I’ve seen since the Tyson Marquez fight in November 2012.” Somodio has worked Viloria’s last eight bouts and said he’s stronger than ever in his bid to regain the throne.

“I feel hungrier than ever and am super excited for this fight,” Viloria said. “I’ve been keeping myself in shape even after my last fight. I’m dedicating this fight to God who’s given me the strength and power to compete at this level for this long. Also to my fans and supporters who’ve been there though all the ups and downs of my career.”

Viloria’s manager Gary Gittelsohn said he’s optimistic of a convincing win. “Brian’s calm and supremely focused,” he said. “He’s had the best camp of his career and he’s in terrific shape. I don’t recall Brian being in this frame of mind for any previous fight. He knows the stakes are high and he’s committed to leave it all in the ring. I love Brian’s chances.”

Dalakian, 30, is unbeaten with a 15-0 record, including 11 KOs compared to Viloria’s 38-5, with 23 KOs. Dalakian will make his US debut. Somodio said it won’t be an easy fight but “we’ll give him everything we’ve got to win this fight and hopefully, by knockout.”

Nietes, 35, is making the first defense of the IBF crown he took via a decision over Thai Komgrich Nantapech in Cebu last April. Reveco, 34, was once the WBA flyweight champion so he, too, hopes to regain the title. Nietes has a record of 40-1-4, with 22 KOs while Reveco’s slate is 39-3, with 19 KOs.

ALA Boxing president Michael Aldeguer said Nietes is “very excited and motivated.” He added, “it was really Donnie’s goal over the years to fight on huge events in the US after he broke Flash Elorde’s record as the longest reigning Filipino world champion and when he won his third world title … this is his dream to fight on the biggest stage … now, to be part of the HBO telecast is a huge boost to his already legendary career.”

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.

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