LOS ANGELES—Brian Viloria continued his climb to boxing greatness with a 10th round stoppage of tough Hernan “Tyson” Marquez on Saturday night to unify the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight titles at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Showcasing his masterly counterpunching, Viloria floored Marquez for the third and last time with a thunderous left hook to the jaw while the Mexican was on the attack early in the 10th.
The WBA king managed to beat the count and referee David Mendoza signaled the fight to continue, but after Viloria unloaded more shots, Marquez’s trainer, Robert Garcia, threw in the towel with a minute and a second to go in the round.
Living up to his “Hawaiian Punch” moniker, Viloria improved his record to 32 wins, 19 by knockouts, against three losses and boosted his stock as an elite fighter in the mold of compatriots Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr.
It was the third successful WBO title defense for Viloria, a former World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) world light flyweight champ, since snatching the crown from Julio Cesar Miranda last year. Viloria, who’s turning 32 on Nov. 24, also thwarted the challenge of Giovani Segura and then exacted revenge over Omar Niño Romero.
Though perceived to be the heavier puncher, Marquez also hit the canvas in the first and fifth rounds and dropped to 34-3 with 25 knockouts. His two other defeats came against Donaire and another Filipino, Richie Mepranum in 2010.
As predicted, it was war between two gladiators from the opening bell, with Marquez gamely trading punches before getting floored with a sneaky right hook near the end of the first round. Marquez got up and was saved by the bell from further punishment.
His confidence boosted, Viloria dictated the tempo from the second to the fourth rounds with snappy punches that came in bunches.
In the fifth, Marquez landed a 1-2 combination that rocked Viloria. The Sinaloan native then swarmed all over Viloria, who covered up to clear his head before the pride of Waipahu, Hawaii, then uncorked a combination to stop Marquez’s onslaught.
Having recovered his bearings, Viloria landed three punches, capped by a right straight that floored Marquez for the second time.
The 24-year-old Marquez again beat the count, but started to fight cautiously from the sixth to the ninth rounds, where Viloria, who seems to be tiring, kept him at bay with stiff jabs.
Knowing that he’s lagging behind in the scorecards, Marquez came out firing shots with both hands in the tenth and landed some punches before taking the decisive left hook that left him as Viloria’s 18th Mexican victim in an impressive career.
“I knew it (victory) looked bad but I wasn’t hurt, Viloria told Agence France-Presse. “I knew he was going to get tired. I think my left hook was too fast for him.”
Marquez later apologized in Spanish to his supporters via Twitter. Offering no excuses, Marquez said he tried to complicate matters, but neglected his defense in the process. The Mexican added it was “just a bad night” and his ring career “does not end here.”
In the undercard, Filipino prospect Drian Francisco also made a strong impression in his United States ring debut by stopping Mexican Javier Gallo in the fifth round.
The 30-year-old Francisco, pride of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, tagged Gallo with an uppercut and a right straight, then followed it up with head and body shots that forced the referee to waive off the bout at the 2:54 mark.
Francisco, who trained under former Wild Card trainer Justine Fortune, climbed to 24-1-1 with 19 knockouts. Gallo fell to 18-6 with 10 knockouts.
Before the bout, Viloria expressed his wish for an impressive victory to entice the major US networks—HBO and Showtime, to telecast his fights next year. He may just get that wish now.
Filipino trainer Marvin Somodio, who supervised Viloria’s training at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, worked Viloria’s corner. AFP with a report from Roy Luarca