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STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART XXXVII: BRIAN VILORIA, THE TRUE-BLOODED FILIPINO WORLD CHAMPION


PhilBoxing.com




Brian Viloria was born in Waipahu, Hawaii on November 24, 1980 to Filipino parents Benjamin and Rosemarie. According to the Philippine Star, when he was six months old, his father brought him to their hometown in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, and he lived with his grandparents for five years.

He was a WBA and WBO world flyweight champion and a WBC and IBF light flyweight champion. His nickname "The Hawaiian Punch" was first given to him by Jesus Salud, a fellow Hawaiian of Filipino descent and also a former world champion, who used the same moniker.

At a press conference, promoter Bob Arum introduced Viloria as half-Hawaiian and half-Filipino. But Viloria rectified Arum by saying he is a 100 percent Filipino.

In 1999, as an amateur boxer, Viloria won the US championships, the national Golden Gloves and the world title at the 1999 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Houston, Texas.

In the 2000 United States Olympic Trials, Viloria defeated fellow Filipino-American brothers Glenn Donaire in the quarter-finals, and future world champion Nonito Donaire in the semi-finals. He gained a slot in the 2000 US Olympic team by beating his former teammate Karoz Norman in the finals.

Viloria competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as one of the favorites to win a medal. He won over Sergey Kazakov of Russia in Round 1 preliminaries, 8-6. But he lost to eventual gold medalist Brahim Asloum of France, 6-4 in Round 2 preliminaries. Viloria connected several body punches but these were not converted into points by the judges.

He had beaten Asloum in the 1999 World Championships. Viloria finished his amateur career with a fight record of 230-8.

Viloria started his professional career as a flyweight by defeating Benjamin Escobia by UD and chalked up 17 wins and no losses. He knocked out Kenny Berrios in the 7th round, Sheldon Wile in the 1st round, Antonio Perez in the 3rd round, Leonardo Gutierrez in the 4th round, and Sandro Orlando Oviedo in the 1st round.

He stopped Mexican Francisco Soto in the 5th round for the WBC Youth flyweight title on June 18, 2002 in Del Mar, California.

He also grabbed the North American Boxing Federation flyweight title over Mexican Juan Javier Lagos in New York City on August 30, 2002.

Viloria defended his NABF title by winning over Alberto Rossel of Peru by majority decision, Mexican Alejandro Moreno by unanimous decision, and Mexican Juan Alfonso Keb Baas by unanimous decision.

He also defended his WBC Youth title with a victory against Colombian Luis Doria by 1st round TKO.

On September 10, 2005, Viloria went down in weight to light flyweight and won the World Boxing Council title by knocking out Eric Ortiz in the first round with a devastating right hand.

He successfully defended it once on February 18, 2006 against José Antonio Aguirre of Mexico and maintained his undefeated streak in 20 bouts.

Viloria tasted his first loss when he was dethroned of his WBC light flyweight crown by Mexican Omar Niño Romero by unanimous decision on August 10, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In a rematch held on November 18, 2006 in Las Vegas, Romero was able to retain his world title with a controversial majority draw decision. Viloria lost even if he downed Romero twice during the fight. Romero was then stripped of his title after failing a post fight drug test for methamphetamine and the match result was changed into a no-contest.

On April 14, 2007, he fought Edgar Sosa for the vacant WBC light flyweight title but lost by a majority decision in a match held at the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas.

Viloria then decided to move up to the super flyweight division and began training under former IBF junior lightweight champion and Trainer of the Year awardee Roberto Garcia at La Colonia Gym in Oxnard, California.



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


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