ARTHUR Villanueva failed to seize what Filipino compatriot Marlon Tapales had just lost.
The 28-year-old Villanueva lost in his second bid to win a world title after being outclassed by Zolani Tete of South Africa in their 12-round World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight fight at the Leicester Arena in the UK Sunday morning (Manila time).
The Filipino fighter from the ALA boxing stable dropped a unanimous decision loss by scores of 119-108, 119-108, and 120-107.
The bout was supposed to be a title eliminator to decide the mandatory challenger for the WBO version of the 118-lbs. championship. It was later elevated into an interim title match after Tapales failed to make weight prior to his defense of his belt against challenger Shohei Omori in Japan.
It was the second career loss for Villanueva (30-2, 16 KOs) after likewise coming short in his first attempt at a world crown, a 10th round technical decision against McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight crown.
The camp of Villanueva offered no excuses for the setback.
"Talo talaga tayo sir," admitted trainer Edito 'Ala' Villamor in a message to SPIN.ph. "Magaling talaga si Tete."
Villanueva never got going in his fight against Tete, who scored the only knockdown in the fight when he dropped the Filipino with a left hand in the 11th round.
Tete (25-3, with 20 KOs) is a former IBF junior bantamweight champion.