MACAU—The bandage over both eyebrows and the lumps on Brian Viloria’s face when he showed up at the post-fight conference were proof of the bruising battle the Fil-American fought and lost to Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico late Saturday at Cotai Arena of The Venetian hotel here.
Despite yielding his WBO and WBA flyweight titles to the scrappy Mexican, Viloria remained unbowed, saying he wants a rematch.
Viloria had lost three years ago in similar fashion and bounced back. At 32, he said he will climb from the pits and become a world champion again.
But Viloria will have to wait for some time before returning to the ring against Estrada, who beat him by split decision.
Judge Robert Hoyle had the Filipino-American from Hawaii winning at 115-113, but the other judges, Michael Pernick and Levi Martinez, saw the Mexican prevailing with decisive 116-111 and 117-111 scores, respectively.
It was a frustrating evening for Viloria, who got the better of the 22-year-old Estrada in the first half of the 12-round bout that drew about eight thousand fans, including hundreds of Filipinos, to this new gambling haven.
But Estrada’s body punches eventually told on Viloria, allowing the Mexican to dominate the bout starting in the eighth round with uppercuts and more body shots.
Though hurting inside and out, Viloria gamely cracked a joke before the media, saying he now sported a different look than the one he had before the fight started.
Viloria, who suffered his fourth loss against 32 wins, 18 against Mexicans, admitted that Estrada “hit him with several good shots.”
Viloria added that Estrada, 23-2 with 17 knockouts, gained valuable lessons from his bungled WBA light flyweight title bid against unscathed Roman Gonzalez last November.
Viloria later apologized for letting the Filipinos down, and blamed himself for “being not busy” in the latter stages and allowed Estrada to pepper him with solid shots that staggered him a few times.
Viloria’s defeat dampened the spirits of Filipinos, who were treated to impressive wins by unbeaten Filipino prospects Milan Melindo and the Peñalosa brothers over foreign opponents in the undercard.
Melindo, one of the elite fighters of the heralded ALA Stable, sent Indonesian Tommy Seran to the canvas with a left hook to the jaw with 2:34 gone in the fourth round of their flyweight tussle.
The game Seran was able to beat the count, but referee Jose Rivera declared him unfit to continue with wobbly legs and glossy eyes.
Showing new-found punching power, Melindo, who notched his 29th straight win spiked by 12 knockouts, also decked Seran with a left hook in the first round and again in the second with another solid left.
Upholding the family’s proud boxing legacy, bantamweight Dave Peñalosa stopped Thai Cheroenchai Sithsaithong in the second round while featherweight Dodie Boy Jr. took three rounds to knock out Thai Nimithra Sithsaithong cold.
The younger Dave cruised to his sixth win, four by knockouts.
Recovering from a surprise first-round knockdown, Dodie Boy Jr. decked Nimithra with a left straight in the second round. The power-hitting southpaw then finished off Nimitha with two wicked body blows, 2:54 into the third, to rise to 11-0, all by knockouts.
China’s sports hero Zou Shiming, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Amateur champion, made an auspicious debut in the professional ranks by trouncing Mexican Eleazar Valenzuela in the four-round flyweight encounter that actually served as the headliner of the Fists of Gold fight card put up by Top Rank Promotions at the world’s largest casino in his honor.
Unheralded Japanese Yasutaka Ishimoto stunned former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. by majority decision in their battle for the WBO international super featherweight title.
Judge Robert Hoyle scored it even, 95-95, but judges Levi Martinez and Salven Lagumbay gave Ishimoto the edge, 96-93, and 95-94, respectively.