By Dennis Principe
Former two-time world champion Brian Viloria expressed his readiness to return to the division he once ruled and where he feels comfortable at this point of his career. Viloria, 29, will battle Omar “Lobito” Soto of Mexico in a 10-round non-title fight this Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. It will be Viloria’s first fight since losing his International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight belt to Colombian Carlos Tamara via 12th round TKO last January at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“My first 15-16 fights happened at 112 and I only moved down to 108 because of the title opportunity. Now I’m back to where I’m supposed to be,” said Viloria who previously won the WBC light flyweight belt back in 2005.
During the official weigh-in held Friday afternoon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, both combatants easily made the limit with Viloria coming in at an exact 112lbs while Soto tallied 111 ½.
In meeting Soto, Viloria (26-3, 15 KO’s) has promoted cutman Ruben Gomez to be the lead trainer after the Hawaiian’s longtime guru Robert Garcia apparently chose to train Filipino-American Nonito Donaire, Jr. who will defend his interim super flyweight belt also this weekend in Puerto Rico.
During the press conference held Wednesday, Viloria refused to discuss further internet reports about Garcia’s supposed concern that the former world champion needs to have more time to recover from the brutal January loss to Tamara.
“I’d rather not talk about it. Right now I’m focused for this fight because I’m really excited to get back to action that I wish this fight would happen tomorrow,” said Viloria.
The 30-year-old Soto (19-6-2, 13 KO’s) twice fought for the world light flyweight crown and, losing both by stoppages to Muhammad Rachman of Indonesia and Omar Narvaez of Argentina.
Soto’s biggest win happened in 2005 when he decisioned former world champion Daniel Reyes of Colombia in a 12-round world title eliminator in Las Vegas.
Meantime undefeated lightweight prospect Al Sabaupan stakes his IBF Pan Pacific crown against Thai challenger Wonpichit Twins Gym in a 12-round encounter.
The card is promoted by Solar Sports and is part of the cable networks boxing series “Boxing at the Bay” which is now on its fourth staging.
Meantime Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) member and Peoples Journal sportswriter Gerry Ramos presented a plaque to Viloria in recognition to the Hawaiian’s 2009 accomplishment of winning the IBF light flyweight belt.
Viloria was one of the major awardees of the annual PSA awards night held last March 1 but the former champion was in the United States during the prestigious rites.