KING Arthur Villanueva hopes to succeed where stablemate Milan Melindo and compatriot Johnriel Casimero failed earlier.
The undefeated Filipino fighter of ALA boxing gets a shot at a first-ever world championship as he battles McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight belt at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
The 12-round bout pits two undefeated warriors who are both fighting in the world stage for the very first time.
But the 26-year-old Villanueva (27-0, 14 KOs) has added motivation as he tries to give the country another world crown following successive failed attempts by Melindo and Casimero to win a title the past two months.
Melindo lost by technical decision to Javier Mendoza for the IBF light-flyweight belt, while Casimero fell short in his bid for the IBF flyweight title following a unanimous decision loss to Amnat Ruenroeng.
Following the defeat of Manny Pacquiao at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Donnie Nietes (WBO light-flyweight) remains the sole Filipino world boxing champion today.
Villanueva, from boxing hotbed Bago City, Negros Occidental, hopes not to disappoint as he vows to give Arroyo (16-0, 8 KOs) a good fight.
“This is my first time on the big stage. I’ve fought all over the world and I just want to thank everybody for this great opportunity. I promise that I will give the best I have and a great fight this Saturday night,” said the Filipino.
Both fighters made the weight, tipping at the 114.8 lbs. limit during Friday’s official weigh-in.
The match serves as a Showtime co-main event of the light-heavyweight fight between Mexican superstar Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Marco Reyes.