MANILA, Philippines – World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight champion Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Viloria can finally breathe a sigh of relief after his dominant victory over rival Omar Niño Romero last Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
In the third meeting between the two boxers, Viloria proved his supremacy over his Mexican foe, taking control in the fourth round before ending the match in the ninth with an uppercut that forced Romero’s corner to stop the fight.
The fight was stopped at the 2:07 mark of the ninth round, and Viloria was awarded the technical knockout victory.
"It's a big psychological win for us," Viloria said in the post-fight press conference, as quoted by RingTV.
"I feel like I can close a chapter in this book now. I feel like I yanked a monkey off my back now," he added.
Viloria was making the second defense of his WBO flyweight title, which he won against Julio Cesar Miranda last year. Although he was coming off a surprising knockout win over highly rated fighter Giovanni Segura in what was his first title defense, he was still unsure of victory against Romero, given the history between the two fighters.
Romero had given Viloria the first loss of his career in August 2006, and their rematch three months later ended in a draw that was changed into a no-contest after Romero failed a post-fight drug test.
This time, Viloria left nothing to chance as he was aggressive right at the opening bell. By the fifth round, he had opened a cut above Romero's left eye.
"I think he was slower than when I last fought him," Viloria said. "He lost a little of his speed and I was able to find him a lot better this time around and adjust to his game plan."
"He's really awkward, he has a real awkward stutter step that throws you off, because you don't know if he's going to come in or stay back," he added.
Viloria's assistant trainer, Ruben Gomez, compared his boxer's fights with Romero to that of Filipino ring icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and his own great rival, Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico.
"Like Superman has kryptonite, Manny Pacquiao has Juan Manuel Marquez, we have Omar Niño," he said. "It's so hard to look good against him, but I'm happy that Niño is not hurt, and I'm happy we were able to win in a convincing fashion."
Viloria’s team is now aiming to make a title unification fight with either World Boxing Association flyweight champion Hernan "Tyson" Marquez or WBA junior flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez.
"I would love to make a unification fight with 'Tyson' Marquez. It would be a great fight and it would be the kind of fight that we could sell to HBO or Showtime," said Viloria's manager, Gary Gittelsohn.
"(Gonzalez) has a beautiful style of boxing, he's undefeated and there have been lots of talk percolating in the boxing circles about Brian and Gonzalez meeting," Gittelsohn added, saying that Viloria will be willing to fight Gonzalez if the latter moves up in weight.
Viloria improved his record to 31 wins against three losses, with 18 wins coming by knockout. Romero’s record, meanwhile, dropped to 31 wins with five losses and two draws.