Viloria breaks hand
The world champion from Waipahu said he felt it early in last week's title defense
Brian Viloria is not one to make excuses, even if they are as plain as the cast on his right hand.
Viloria, of Waipahu, broke his right hand in his first defense of his World Boxing Council light flyweight title on Saturday, the second time in his career he has been sidelined by a break to a bone in his dominant hand.
Viloria beat former minimumweight champion Jose Antonio Aguirre by unanimous decision, disappointing fans who expected a repeat of his first-round stoppage of Eric Ortiz in September. Aguirre was the first man to go the distance against Viloria since Viloria's 12-round decision over Juan Alfonso Keb Baas two years ago.
Viloria said he broke the fourth metacarpal on his right hand in the "second or third round," but that the adversity may have made him stronger. Although Viloria didn't pull any punches after the break, he was forced to use defensive skills the knockout artist rarely has an opportunity to show off.
Because of his punching power, Viloria had only worked seven rounds in the past year before tussling with Aguirre for 12.
"I could feel it," Viloria said. "I didn't know it was broken, but I knew that it was hurting every time I threw with it. It allowed me to show the world that I can box."
Viloria is expected to be out for 2-3 weeks after missing 10 weeks following his professional debut in 2001, when he broke the fifth metacarpal on his right hand. Viloria survived a scare after a bout in 2004 when he strained a ligament in the same hand and was in a cast for about a week.
"It is an occupational hazard," Team Viloria manager Gary Gittelsohn said. "The human hand isn't designed to take the force Brian can deal out, but we have known that since he started this. It doesn't change anything."
The injury does not change any of Viloria's plans to relax for a little bit while Gittelsohn finds a worthy challenger to Viloria's throne. That should be no problem judging by the list of fighters taking to the press to call out the Hawaiian Punch.
The most aggressive challenger is Juanito Rubillar of the Philippines, whose manager claims to have offered Viloria $150,000 to fight his man in Manila on April 4.
Rubillar's handler, Gabriel "Bebot" Elorde, says Rubillar is Viloria's mandatory challenger and Viloria must meet Rubillar before March 10 or risk being stripped of his title. Rubillar was named the mandatory challenger for the crown at the WBC's 43rd annual convention in Spain in October.
Rubillar joins WBC flyweight king Jorge Arce, who was in attendance at Viloria's win and told a Filipino newspaper that he would "fight Viloria even in his back yard" and WBO minimumweight champion Ivan Calderon as fighters mentioned as opponents since his win Saturday.
Gittelsohn says that he hasn't begun negotiations with any opponent yet, and any claims of such are "baseless."
Viloria will fly to Osaka to be in attendance when fellow Olympian Jose Navarro, who has won twice in Honolulu, makes his second attempt at a world title when he tangles with Masamori Tokuyama for the WBC's super flyweight crown.
Viloria will go from Japan to the Philippines, where Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit" Singson told the Manila Times that Viloria will be met with a celebration to rival the one thrown for him when he won the title. Viloria's parents come from the Philippines and Viloria has become one of the country's most popular fighters, behind Manny Pacquiao.
After leaving the Philippines, Viloria plans to return to Hawaii for the second time since winning the title.
"It is time to come home," Viloria said. "The next step is arranging a fight there."