ARTHUR Villanueva tries to make the first step in his bid for a shot at another world title.
The 28-year-old Filipino faces former world champion Zolani Tete over the weekend at the Manchester Arena in England in a 12-round World Boxing Organization (WBO) title eliminator.
The pride of Cebu-based ALA boxing stable arrived in the city of Leicester as early as last week to get acclimatized to the cold weather of England.
Villanueva and his small entourage led by chief trainer Edito Villamor are all revved up for the Saturday fight, where a victory could mean earning for the Bago City, Negros Occidental another shot at a world championship.
“Tete is a brilliant fighter but I will beat him on Saturday,” said Villanueva during the final press conference for the fight card held early Friday morning (Manila time).
Villanueva carries a ring record of 31-1, with 16 KOs. His lone career loss came in a controversial 10th round technical decision against Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight belt in a bout held at the Don Haskin Convetion Center in El Paso, Texas.
Arroyo would later lose the title to another Filipino in Jerwin Ancajas.
But Tete (20-3, 20 KOs) is no patsy, having once reigned as IBF super-flyweight champion for one year before relinquishing the belt after opting not to fight Arroyo, who is the mandatory challenger.
The 29-year-old fighter from Eastern Cape, South Africa vowed to dominate the 118-lbs division first before setting his sights on the super-bantamweight class.
“I want to clean up the bantamweight division first, and then move up to super bantamweight,” he said. “Whatever I’ve been doing in the gym, I’ll do to Villanueva’s head.”