Finally, a honeymoonBy Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
On the eve of their departure for Europe, Brian and Erika Viloria had a small, intimate dinner with the press and Solar executives led by COO Peter Chanliong.
The couple, who got married 18 months ago, was eager to go on a long overdue honeymoon which they had been putting off time and again due to Brian’s tight schedule.
Erika said Brian had a number of fights which he had to prepare for the past year and a half and there just wasn’t time for a vacation.
The “Hawaiian Punch” was completely focused on training hard for the fights, the last two staged in the Philippines.
The European vacation would also serve as a victory celebration which the Vilorias gifted themselves after Brian’s successful defense of his WBO flyweight title against Mexican challenger Omar Niño Romero, whom he had fought twice in the past.
Brian was beaten in the first match which happened many years ago, while the second bout initially ended in a draw but was later voided because Romero was found positive for illegal drugs.
It took six years before the two would meet again inside the ring. According to boxing insiders, Brian waited this long to exact revenge on his tormentor because Romero could not fight in the United States, where he had an outstanding debt in fines which he could not pay.
“Niño fought mostly in Mexico. There was no urgency for a rematch with Brian, because we didn’t really find the loss to him that significant,” said Brian’s trainer Ruben Garcia.
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After the Vilorias’ three-week vacation in Europe, they will fly straight to Las Vegas to watch the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight at the MGM Grand.
It won’t be the first time Brian will be watching a Pacquiao fight.
“I even sat down as a commentator in one of his fights years ago, remember?” Brian said.
So how does he look at the June 9 fight?
“Manny is too fast, too strong and very experienced. I see the fight ending in the eighth or ninth round.”
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Solar VP for Marketing Services Tek Major heaved a sight of relief last Sunday after the fight when GAB physician Daniel Alquitran gave Romero the green light to return to his hotel.
In Brian’s last fight with Giovanni Segura, the latter was so badly hurt he had to be brought to the hospital where he was confined for several days. Tek had to keep watch until Segura was pronounced out of danger.
“Thank God I was spared of the same trauma,” said Tek.
Romero excused himself from the usual postfight press conference because he was too dizzy to walk to the venue. He insisted though that the fight should not have been stopped (with 2:07 minutes left in the ninth round).
When the bell rang after the eighth round, Romero was so disoriented, he hobbled toward the wrong corner.
He later challenged Brian to another rematch in Mexico where he said he was sure to win because it will be in his homeland. Romero demanded to be paid his purse before leaving Manila that same night.
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