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STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART XVII: BEN VILLAFLOR, YOUNGEST WORLD CHAMPION IN 1972


PhilBoxing.com




Benjamin "Ben" Villaflor was born on November 10, 1952 in Zamboanga City and became the WBA and lineal junior lightweight champion during the 1970s.

According to records, Villaflor began his career as a professional boxer when he was only thirteen years old, on October 1, 1966, outpounting Flash Javier in four rounds.

Villaflor won twelve straight fights with eight knockouts before he suffered his first loss, against Roger Boy Pedrano, by an eight-round decision on July 1, 1967.

In September 1, 1967, he lost again by decision in a rematch with Pedrano.

Villaflor later won 18, lost two and drew two of his next 22 fights to set a 31-4-2 career record before migrating to Hawaii, where he engaged in most of his remaining bouts.

His last fight in the Philippines before transferring his residence to Hawaii was a ten round decision over Baby Lorona of Liloan, Southern Leyte in Quezon City on November 14, 1970.

Villaflor moved to Honolulu, to gain more American and worldwide exposure. He began to love Honolulu that until now he still lives in the Hawaiian capital.

In April 13 1971, he defeated Rafael López by a first-round knockout in his first fight in Honolulu and also his first overseas match.

He also won over Mexican featherweight champion and world title challenger Raul Cruz by knockout in ten rounds on November 11, 1971. Cruz went down twice in the sixth and once in the eighth round before the fight was stopped.

He stopped world title challenger Frankie Crawford, who went down three times, before being declared knocked out in the every first round on January 25, 1972.

In April 25, 1972, Villaflor took his first shot at the world title when he challenged WBA junior lightweight champion Alfredo Marcano of Venezuela. Villaflor grabbed the world championship by defeating Marcano via a fifteen-round unanimous decision at the title fight held in Honolulu.

He established a record that time as the youngest ever world boxing champion at the age of 19 years and 5 months and 5 days. The present record was held by Puerto Rican Wilfred Benitez, who on March 6, 1976, at age 17, witnessed by his high school classmates, defeated WBA light welterweight champion Antonio Cervantes.

The New York Times published it on April 26 1972: "Even as he became the youngest champion in boxing history, the junior lightweight Ben Villaflor showed he had a long way to go."

Referee Jimmy Scaramozi saw it 74-64, Judge Walter Cho scored it 74-68 and Judge Harold Hart had it 69-68 all for the southpaw Filipino.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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