MACAU – Already regarded as one of the best flyweight champions in the world, Brian Viloria is now looking at further cementing his boxing legacy.
On Saturday night, he takes a step in that direction when he stakes his World Boxing Organization-World Boxing Association flyweight titles against the taller and dangerous Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico at the Cotai Arena inside The Venetian Resort and Casino Hotel.
The fight is set for 12 rounds.
Viloria began to serve notice of how great a fighter he is when he beat former world champion Giovanni Segura of Mexico in 2011 to retain his WBO crown, before adding the WBA version last November with an impressive 10th-round stoppage of another Mexican in Hernan `Tyson’ Marquez.
He’s looking forward to adding Estrada to that growing list of victims and reinforcing his claim to being among the greatest fighters ever to reign at 112 lbs.
“Brian is not just the best flyweight (fighter) in the world, but perhaps the best flyweight in history. And I know you will come to see that (on Saturday),” said Viloria’s longtime manager Gary Githelson.
“This is just the beginning of bigger and better things. I don’t know how bigger and better it can get after this, but I think I’m on the right track, and I want to stay on this track,” said the 32-year-old champion (32-3-1, 19 KOs) who tipped the scale at 111.3 lbs. during Friday’s official weigh-in at The Theater.
Estrada, taller and younger at 22, came in at exactly 112 lbs. Although he’s coming off a loss in his first attempt at a world title – a 12-round unanimous decision loss against Roman Gonzales for the WBA light-flyweight crown – Viloria is not about to look beyond him.
“He (Estrada) pushes me in a position where I have to put my best foot (forward). And he’s trying to put the pressure on me because he has everything to gain if he does beat me,” said the `Hawaiian Punch’ of his Mexican challenger (22-2, 18 KOs).
Viloria, born in Waipahu, Hawaii to Filipino parents, is making the fourth defense of the WBO title he won from Julio Cesar Miranda two years ago, and vows to make believers out of people who still doubt him.
“I’m just ready for this fight and prove again to the world that I am the champion that I am,” he said.
Third man in the ring is Genaro `Gino’ Rodriguez, while the three officials judging the fight are Robert Hoyle, Raul Caiz Sr. and Michael Pernick.
Three Filipino fighters are seeing action in the undercard of the `Fists of Gold’ boxing promotion that features the pro debut of two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming of China.
Unbeaten Milan Melindo of ALA boxing gym takes on Indonesian Tommy Seran in a 10-round fight at flyweight. Melindo (28-0, with 11 KOs) tipped the scale at 112 lbs.
Brothers David and Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr. on the other hand, take on separate opponents as they also stake their respective undefeated records.
David (5-0, 3KOs) battles Cheroenchai Sithsaithong of Thailand in a four-rounder at bantamweight, while Dodie Jr (10-0, 8 KOs) takes on another Thai in Nimithra Sithsaithong in a six-rounder at featherweight.
The young Filipino fighters are the sons of former two-time world champion Dodie Boy Penalosa Sr. and nephews of Gerry Penalosa, himself a two-time world title holder.