MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2) -- Brian “The Hawaiian Punch” Viloria retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight title after battering rival Omar Niño Romero of Mexico at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City Sunday.
Viloria dominated Romero throughout the bout en route to a ninth-round technical knockout victory.
It was sweet revenge for “The Hawaiian Punch,” who was fighting Romero for the third time. Viloria lost to Romero in their first meeting in August 2006, and their rematch later that year ended in a draw that was eventually changed to a no-contest after the Mexican failed a post-fight drug test.
This time, Vilora refused to leave the outcome at the hands of the judges. He was aggressive right from the start, and started gaining momentum in the fourth round. “The Hawaiian Punch” was able to rock Romero late in the fourth, but the Mexican boxer was able to hold on.
In the fifth round, Viloria opened up a cut above Romero’s left eye, but the Mexican refused to back down. Romero was even able to mount a rally in the eighth.
But Viloria put an end to the match in the ninth round, with a right hand, followed by a left uppercut that rocked Romero. The Mexican’s corner entered the ring, prompting the referee to stop the fight at the 2:07 mark of the ninth round.
After the fight, Viloria said he has gotten stronger since his two previous fights against Romero.
“He didn’t feel my power in the first two fights,” he said.
Romero, who objected the stoppage, lost for the second time in his last three fights. It was only the third time he lost by knockout; he was last stopped by Juan Alberto Rosas in 2004.
Viloria improved his record to 31 wins with three losses, with 17 coming by knockout. Romero, meanwhile, drops his record to 31 wins with five losses and two draws.
It was Viloria’s fifth straight victory since a stunning TKO loss to Carlos Tamara in 2010. It was also his second successful defense of the WBO flyweight title and his second straight TKO victory.
Viloria dedicated his victory to late boxer Andy Ganigan, a former Filipino-Hawaiian champion who passed away recently in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In the undercard, Rodel Mayol knocked down Julio Cesar “Pingo” Miranda three times en route to a unanimous decision victory, 100-87, 97-91 and 99-88.
Mayol sent Miranda to the canvas in the first round, in the second and again in the fifth round.
Malacañang on Sunday extended its congratulations to Viloria, while Vice-President Jejomar Binay congratulated both Viloria and Mayol.
“Viloria’s and Mayol’s victories despite the odds is a telling picture of our people’s character. They both deserved to win, and I am happy that they have both done so in convincing fashion, surrounded by their countrymen,” Binay said in a statement.
“Certainly, these boxers have once again made the entire nation proud. Their victories are indeed welcome news for every Filipino,” he added. – With a report from Agence France-Presse