Undefeated Cebu-based fighter Arthur Villanueva will be in for the toughest fight of his life when he challenges fellow undefeated fighter McJoe Arroyo for vacant International Boxing Federation super flyweight title tomorrow in Texas.
Villanueva, the World Boxing Organization Asia Pacific super flyweight title, will be fighting in the US for the first time and says he's not daunted at the prospect.
"I don't feel any pressure and I have adjusted well here. It feels like I'm just in Cebu," said Villanueva, who has been in the US with trainer Edito Villamor for close to two weeks.
Though he is making his US debut, Villanueva has already fought twice outside the country.
He beat Taiki Eto in Tokyo for the Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super flyweight belt on Dec. 19, 2012 and won the vacant IBF international super flyweight crown with a split decision win over Henry Maldonado on Sept. 5, 2014.
However, he's in for a different kind of challenge against Arroyo, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, three months before Villanueva made his pro debut on Nov. 29, 2008 against Alan Magno in the flyweight division (112 pounds).
And for Villamor, the two fighters' experience in the amateur will play a huge factor in their title clash.
"We need to outbox him. This fight would be like a chess match because they both have the same 'amateurish style,'" said Villamor, highlighting that they'd go for combinations instead of a knockout punch.
Villanueva is 27-0 with 14 knockouts, while Arroyo, is 16-0 with 8 knockouts."I will be relaxed this time and I won't make any mistakes. I must not be hasty so that everyone will see that I have matured," said Villanueva.
On the other hand, Arroyo, whose twin McWilliams is also a professional fighter with a 16-2 record, said he respects Villanueva but is eager for the challenge.
"I see he is a crafty fighter as to his weaknesses, we will see in the fight. Every fight and every fighter is different," Arroyo told Ring Magazine.
Villamor is confident that his ward has matured over the years and has the will to win.
"His chance is 50-50 but we believe Arthur can deliver the game plan because of his will to win, which we saw when he won the OPBF title in Japan," he said.
In that fight against Eto, Villanueva got knocked down in the first and ninth round but scored a knockdown of his own in the fourth to win by close scores of 114-112, 113-112, 113-112.
On the other hand, after a stellar amateur career that saw him win a bronze medal in the 2007 World Boxing Championships, he made his debut in 2010 and won all his 16 fights.
In his last two fights, he stopped Hernan Marquez (37-4) in 11 rounds and beat Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-4-3) by unanimous decision to earn a shot at the IBF super flyweight title.*PNA
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