By Mark F. Villanueva
We may be many things to different people at the same time, and a collective perception of us by a certain crowd could change by time’s passage. But you don’t just start off with a glittering amateur record by winning a number of world titles in the process, land an honorable seat at the U.S. Olympic Boxing team, win a world title as a professional boxer and defend it twenty times after, if you’re not a winner. And by that I mean a winner not just in the views of many, but more importantly by yourself. No one could have achieved all that without the belief in himself as a winner.
Winning is not easy and may attest a whole lot of things to one’s personhood but to be able to test a man’s truest character you have to catch him when he is down. And if the low points in our lives partially bare our souls, then so much was shown that day as it turned out to be Viloria’s defining moment as he reached down and dug as deep as he never had before to find the spirit to knockout the formidable Mexican, Ulises “Archie” Solis who had not lost a single fight in eleven straight matches.
It was way back on the 19th of April 2009 when Viloria would win his second world title (IBF Junior Flyweight) and I was fortunate to witness from ringside at the Araneta Coliseum how the Hawaiian-born Filipino boxer, Brian Viloria had solidified himself under the pressure of a fading career following his past loses in pivotal fights. After losing his WBC Light Flyweight world title to Omar Nino Romero and crucial back to back losses to the Mexican boxer, Edgar Sosa, although the second loss was eventually declared a no-contest due to the victor’s failure to pass the post-fight drug test, Brian Viloria was thought by many to be on the brink of a downslope in his career. People started to remember him for those heartbreaking loses rather than for his triumphs, which didn’t bode well for the former champion. It was on that day when we was most pressed that he shown arguably his best performance in his professional boxing career in front of thousands of his fans. It was a moment that would speak volumes of who the boxer Brian Viloria truly is.
Back on his throne, Brian Viloria managed to defend his title with a Unanimous Decision against Jesus Iribe before losing to Carlos Tamara back in the 23rd of January, 2010 where he was said to have passed out after the fight due to extreme exhaustion. Finding himself once again with the challenge of treading up that painstaking comeback trail, will the two time world champion boxer be able to find those qualities deep within to redeem himself and regain past glory? Or will his championship fight this coming Sunday for the WBO Flyweight title versus Julio Cesar Miranda of Mexico be his last dance in the big stage? I caught up exclusively with Brian Viloria and this is what he had to say:
Mark: Hey, Brian, thanks for taking the time to answer my queries in such short notice. I know you’re busy with your upcoming fight just around the corner.
How’s your training goin? I heard you’ve been working real hard for this fight and that you’re now in the best shape ever.
Brian: I have been working long and hard for this fight. Opportunities for world championship fights don’t come often, so you want to put everything you’ve got in training camp and more.
Mark: Has there been a major change in your transition from Robert Garcia’s camp to your new team in terms of style and training regimen- etc. ?
Brian: Each trainer has different training styles. It wasn’t hard for me to transition because I have worked with Mario Morales earlier in my career.
Mark: Please tell us more about the team you’re with now.
Brian: Mario is a great trainer. He likes to oversee the morning runs, and knows when to crack the whip when needed. On the other hand he also knows when to taper down so his fighters don’t get overworked.
Mark: You’ve been jumping up and down in weight in the past years, do you think you’re current weight will work to your advantage in this fight?
Brian: I’ve started my career at 112. I went down to 108 to fight for the WBC title. 4 pounds with our size does make a lot of difference. I feel stronger and comfortable at this weight.
Mark: How do you plan on dealing with Julio Cesar Miranda come Sunday style wise, and how do you see that match up unfold?
Brian: Sticking to my game plan and working the body early. I need to use my hand speed and throw a lot of combinations with angles. I see him having trouble with my speed and the aggressiveness come Sunday.
Mark: With your superb conditioning, do you think a knock out is a high probability?
Brian: All I want to say is, if a knockout presents itself then I’ll take it.
Mark: There’s been rumors circling around the boxing community on your plans of retiring soon, is there any truth to this or does much of it depend on the outcome of your pending title fight? I was there when you fought Solis in Manila and I’ve seen for myself what you are capable of. I don’t know if you remember this but I once told you that when you knocked him out in the 11th round in Rocky Balboa fashion I jumped out of my seat and screamed so hard I didn’t care for anyone around me like I was celebrating my birthday (LOL). Are you in the position to declare that you’re as well prepared now as that fight?
Brian: I’ve been boxing for a long time, but I have been feeling too good and having too much fun to retire now. I’m in the best shape of my life and I don’t want to think about retiring right now.
Mark: At the age of 30 I believe you’re still very, very capable of capturing a number of victories under your belt, and I really hope that’s how the future will be for you.
I know you’re very busy with your fight schedule this close. I really appreciate this, bro and I hope to be able to catch up with you after the win. Before we go, do you have a message to all your Filipino fans who are looking forward to witness another championship victory?
Brian: Thanks again bro for all the support. The reason I fight with passion and excitement are for supporters like you. I want to say thank you to all the fans and their collective prayers and support for me all these years. I love them all.
Mark: Once again I thank you for this opportunity, champ. I wish you the best and God bless you and your family.
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Born and raised in the Southern Philippines, a region with a vast history of cultivating past and current world boxing champions including Pound 4 Pound King Manny Paquiao.
Mark currently lives in Iloilo City and is a graduate of Political Science at the USC in Cebu City but later on dropped out of Law School after a personal realization that a dry and frigid legal system sparked very little to no interest in his mindset.
Some of Mark’s works are published in other top boxing sites such as Phil Boxing, Pacland, and NowBoxing.