ARTHUR Villanueva is still out to treat his duel against reigning bantamweight champion Luis Nery as a world title fight on Sunday in Tijuana, Mexico.
The 10-round bout at the Gasmart Stadium is a non-title match, but the 28-year-old Filipino is raring to prove himself against the holder of the World Boxing Council (WBC) 118-lbs belt in the hopes of getting another crack at a world championship.
Villanueva lost in two previous shots of winning a world title.
He absorbed a technical decision against MCJoe Arroyo for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight crown in 2015, and then suffered a 12-round unanimous decision against Zolani Tete for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight belt.
The ALA boxing pride from Bago City, Negros Occidental carries a ring record of 31-2 with 17 KOs.
Villanueva tipped the scale at 119-lbs during the official weigh-in Saturday (Manila time), while Nery came in at 120-lbs.
The 22-year-old champion from Mexico is unbeaten in 24 bouts, including 18 by knockouts.
Nery won the WBC title three months ago with a fourth-round technical knockout win over Shinsuke Yamanaka of Japan.