ARTHUR Villanueva failed to sustain the momentum and lost via sixth-round stoppage at the hands of reigning world bantamweight champion Luis Nery on Sunday (Manila time) in Tijuana, Mexico.
The 28-year-old Villanueva was at the receiving end of a Nery assault in round six when the referee stepped in to put a halt to the 10-round non-title fight, convinced the Filipino fighter from the Cebu-based ALA boxing stable has had enough against his Mexican opponent.
The end came at the 1:19 mark of the sixth round.
The Filipino’s corner however, believed the stoppage came a bit premature, pointing out Villanueva was neither hurt nor defenseless in the face of an assault from the World Boxing Council (WBC) 118-lbs. title holder.
The shocking end came after the native of Bago City, Negros Occidental decked the unbeaten champion in the fourth round to the surprise of the partisan Mexican crowd at the Estadio Gasmart.
But Nery (25-0, 19 KOs) got his act starting the fifth and dominated Villanueva onwards.
Villanueva, a one-time world title challenger, suffered a second loss in his last three fights and saw his record fall to 31-3, with 15 KOs.
Nery won the WBC belt last August with a fourth-round stoppage of Shinsuke Yamanaka of Japan, who had 12 successful title defense prior to his loss to the Mexican.