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STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART XVIII: BEN VILLAFLOR, TWO-TIME WBA WORLD JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION


PhilBoxing.com




After Ben Villaflor won WBA junior lightweight title from Alfredo Marcano of Venezuela via a fifteen-round unanimous decision, he fought several non-title bouts including a match with world title challenger Jimmy Robertson whom he defeated via a ten-round decision on November 14, 1972.

Robertson once challenged and lost by 5th round KO to world lightweight champion Roberto Durán, the legendary Hands of Stone.

Before that fight, Villaflor retained the WBA title with a fifteen-round draw against Victor Echegaray of Argentina on September 5, 1972.

On March 12, 1973, Villaflor lost his title for the first time, being beaten on points by Japan's Kuniaki Shibata over fifteen rounds in Honolulu. Referee Walter Cho scored it 72-70, Judge Wilbert Minn had it 72-71 and Judge Tamotsu Tomihara saw it 71-69 all in favor of Shibata.

He went on to score two knockout wins over Kenji Iwata in the first round and Akihiro Kawasaki in the third round in non-title bouts.

In October 17, 1973, Villaflor had a rematch with Shibata and regained the WBA world junior lightweight championship with a first-round knockout, also at Honolulu, Hawaii.

Villaflor fought a highly anticipated match against Japan's top rated challenger, Apollo Yoshio, on March 14, 1974, at Toyama, Japan. The two boxers fought to a fifteen-round split draw.

In July 19, 1974 he scored a 7th round TKO win over Japan’s Takao Maruki at the Araneta Coliseum in a non-title fight.

Villaflor faced future WBA world champion Yasutsune Uehara on August 24, 1974 in Honolulu, knocking out the Japanese in the second round.

Then Villaflor climbed the ring for the first time in the mainland United States to clash with future NABF super featherweight champion Ray Lunny III which resulted in a six-round technical draw on November 14, 1974.

An accidental headbutt caused a cut above Villaflor's left eye which prompted referee Elmer Costa to stop the fight upon the doctor's advice. Lunny was knocked down though in the second round.

In March 13, 1975, Villaflor retained the title when he scored a split decision over South Korea's Hyun Chi Kim at the Araneta Coliseum. American referee Herbert Minn and Filipino judge Alfredo Quiazon scored it 71-67 for Villaflor while Korean judge Roy Kim saw it 71-70 for Hyun.

He scored another successful title defense on January 12, 1976 when he knocked out Japan’s Morito Kashiwaba in the 13th round in Tokyo, Japan. Villaflor was ahead on all three score cards when the fight was stopped.

Then he defended his title against Puerto Rican Samuel Serrano for the first time, on April 13, 1976, in Honolulu, and the two combatants fought to a fifteen-round split draw.

American referee Wilbert Minn had it 70-70, America judge Walter Cho saw it 73-69 for Villaflor while Japanese judge Tamotsu Tomihara scored it 72-67 for Serrano. The draw was controversial that the sanctioning body WBA ordered an immediate rematch.

After winning a non-title bout over Rogelio Castaneda of Los Angeles by unanimous decision, Villaflor went to Puerto Rico for the rematch with Serrano, on October 16, 1976 at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan.

Serrano grabbed the world title from Villaflor in a fifteen-round unanimous decision. The scores were 141-147, 147-149 and 142-146 all in favor of thr new champion. It was Villaflor's last professional bout. He retired at a tender age of 23.

Villaflor is still active in boxing as a manager of some professional boxers. He is the Sergeant At Arms for the Hawaii State Senate, a position he got by a vote of the Senate each year.

Villaflor finished his career with a record of 5-2-3 (3 KOs) in world title fights, with a 3-2-1 (2 KOs) slate against former or current world champions. He won against Alfredo Marcano, Kuniaki Shibata, and Yasutsune Uehara, lost to Kuniaki Shibata and Samuel Serrano and drew with Samuel Serrano.

All in all he had 68 total fights with 56 wins, 31 victories by KO, 6 defeats, and 6 draws per Boxrec.com. He was never knocked out in his career.


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


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