Brian Viloria finally made Omar Niño Romero pay an overdue debt yesterday, stopping the game Mexican in the ninth round to retain his World Boxing Organization flyweight crown at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Stronger, faster and wilier, Viloria dominated Romero from the opening bell and was on the verge of knocking down his two-time tormentor when referee Michael Ortega stepped in to halt the bout with two minutes and seven seconds gone in the ninth.
Romero backpedalled on wobbly legs after taking two rights after a lead left when Ortega waved off the attacking Viloria.
It was sweet vindication for Viloria, who lost his WBC light flyweight title to Romero on Aug. 10, 2006 and was held to a majority draw in their rematch three months later. That verdict was later changed to no-decision, however, after the Mexican flunked the postfight drug test.
Learning from previous mistakes, Viloria was the aggressor this time, complementing his attack with good counterpunching that befuddled the 35-year-old Romero time and time again.
Viloria, who improved to 31 wins (18 KOs) against three loses, scored with right and left straights to the head before switching to the body.
In the second round, Viloria stunned Romero with a solid left hook and an uppercut. The Filipino-American pressed on in the third round, with a stunned Romero, who dropped to 31-5-2 with 13 KOs, heading to the neutral corner instead of his own after the bell.
A combination of punches again staggered Romero in the fourth but the Mexican grimly hung on.
In the fifth round, Viloria sneaked in a right, forcing a wobbling Romero into a corner. Romero then landed a low blow that merited a one-point deduction.
Shortly before the round ended, Viloria sent the Mexican’s mouthpiece flying. Romero was so dazed that he later walk toward Viloria’s corner instead.
“It was a big psychological win; It got the monkey off my back,” said Viloria, who dedicated his victory to the late Andy Ganigan, a Filipino former world champion and knockout artist who was originally dubbed The Hawaiian Punch.
He (Romero) was tough, but I was patient,” added Viloria. “I stayed the course and picked my punches.”
Romero, sulking because of the referee’s stoppage, did not attend the postfight conference, saying he wanted to go home (to Guadalajara, Mexico).
Rodel Mayol made it a double for the Philippines in the chief support with a lopsided unanimous decision over Mexican and fellow former world champion Julio Cesar Miranda.
Mayol, who climbed to 31-5-2 with 23 KOs, knocked down Miranda thrice —in the first from a left hook, in the second from a combination of hooks and in the fifth from a barrage of body blows— en route to scores of 100-87, 99-88, 97-92. Miranda fell to 37-7-1 with 29 KOs.
Other bouts saw Dayer Gabutan beat Dado Cabintoy by unanimous decision (118-112, 115-113, 116-112) to clinch the WBO Oriental bantamweight title while Alvin Makiling and Robert Udhutan settled for a majority draw.
Gary Gatelsohn, Viloria’s manager, said he prefers WBA flyweight champion Mexican Hernan Tyson Marquez as Viloria’s next opponent.
He said he wants Viloria to rest and enjoy a European tour with wife Erica, who also watched the fight produced by Solar Sports and aired by GMA 7.
Malacañang also sent its greetings to Viloria. “Congratulations to the Hawaiian Punch, Mr. Brian Viloria, for winning his match,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.