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Wednesday, April 16, 2003



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GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Waipahu's Brian Viloria punched the midsection of Mexico's Valentin Leon in last night's main event at the Sheraton Waikiki Ballroom. Viloria won by TKO.




Viloria still perfect

The Hawaii boxer wins by
TKO after knocking down
Valentin Leon seven times


By Jerry Campany
jcampany@starbulletin.com

There is nowhere to run from Brian Viloria when he has an opponent trapped in Hawaii. And Valentin Leon was looking for a fight, anyway.

Viloria, No. 5 in the World Boxing Council rankings and No. 6 in the World Boxing Organization, improved to 13-0 with the seventh knockout of his career after finally stopping Leon (14-5, 6 KOs) in the eighth round last night at the Sheraton Waikiki Ballroom.

Viloria, who watched his previous three opponents run away from his celebrated right hand, found a man willing and able to stand in and be knocked down by his shots.

The problem was, Leon kept getting back up.

Viloria knocked Leon down seven times in eight rounds. Referee Abe Pacheco didn't call it until a shot eight seconds into the eighth round.

"He's the toughest I fought," Viloria said. "He came in shape."

True to his word, Leon did not run away from Viloria, tasting his power on three counters to the body with the left hand in the first round and deciding that he could hang with the flyweight from Waipahu. He turned out to be wrong.

"I really wanted him to use his power; the last few fights he was boxing a lot," said Freddie Roach, Viloria's trainer. "The opponent was a lot tougher than I thought he would be. He had a lot of (guts) to keep getting up."

In the second, Leon turned into a showman, pretending to go down on one knee but rising to hit Viloria with a combination. Leon went down on a knee for real in the third, when Viloria popped him 28 seconds into the round.

Viloria put Leon on the canvas twice more in the fourth, and was ready to go home on the last one. The hometown fighter climbed the ropes in his corner, celebrating with the crowd, but then Leon rose and met him with a flurry in the center of the ring. Viloria appeared to think the fight was over and was rushing to congratulate his game foe when he was tagged.

Viloria knocked Leon down again in the fifth and sixth rounds, but Leon appeared to get stronger each time Viloria knocked him to his knees. Viloria popped him twice in the seventh to bring the tally to seven, but Leon still kept getting up smiling.

It was also during the seventh that ring doctor Wayne Lee wanted to stop the fight, but was overruled by Pacheco.

"How do you waive off a doctor?" Viloria manager Gary Gittlesohn said. "In over 200 fights I've never seen that.

"Brian did everything I thought he was going to do. But what most concerned me was someone getting hurt."

Leon didn't seem hurt. He continued to grin after the fight was over. It ended when Viloria tagged him with a quick right and Pacheco called it a night. As Viloria hit the corner to bask in the glory, Leon toured the ring with a raised glove and a smile for the crowd.

But inside, the fighter from Mexico was in pain, his manager said.

"He was disappointed, he was still fighting back," Augustin Tapia said. "(Viloria) fought nobodies, they brought Valentin in as a steppingstone and he embarrassed him in his home town. Valentine is a strawweight, two classes below, at 105 pounds."

The knockout was Viloria's first in 46 rounds. He resembled the wrecking ball he was last year when he floored Sandro Oviedo in 38 seconds, the last time Viloria fought in front of his hometown fans.

Leon came in and left with the WBC Intercontinental title, while Viloria holds the NABF flyweight title and the WBC youth title. No belts were on the line.



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