Viloria begins road back
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Waipahu native Brian Viloria won his first fight in more than two years on the undercard of a small show last night in California.
Viloria (20-2, 12 KOs) beat Jose Garcia Bernal (27-9-1, 5 KOs) by unanimous decision last night at the Alameda Swap Meet in Los Angeles. He dropped his overmatched foe in the eighth and final round and was awarded a 78-72 decision by all three judges.
It was Viloria's first fight at 115 pounds after competing his professional career between 108 and 112. He had not won since knocking out Eric Ortiz in the first round to earn the World Boxing Council's Light Flyweight crown at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in August 2005. He had lost two fights and had one declared a no contest since.
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LOS ANGELES » It wasn't under the glittering Las Vegas lights or amid the glitz and glamour of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but it was a win. And for former 108-pound boxing champion and Waipahu native Brian "Hawaiian Punch" Viloria, he proved he was back.
By dismantling Jose Garcia Bernal over eight rounds last night at the Alameda Swap Meet, Viloria not only ended the longest layoff in his career, but he puts to rest a very turbulent and tumultuous two-year winless streak that started with his surprise loss to Omar Nino back in August 2006.
"It's nice to be back and start 2008 off right," Viloria said. "I came into this year with high expectations, and this fight allowed me to get some of the ring rust off."
Entering the ring last night at a career high of 115 pounds, the Hawaiian Punch looked to use more of his muscle than his signature hand and foot speed, which had been so successful throughout the early part of his career. As the opening bell sounded, Viloria fired off and landed powerful left hooks to his opponent's head, while Bernal resorted to peppering Viloria's face with the classic one-two jab combination. As the first round drew to a close, Viloria found himself on the canvas, but it was correctly ruled a slip by the third man in the ring.
Then Viloria went to work dominating his overmatched foe.
As the eighth and final round got under way, Bernal needed a knockout to win. For Viloria, having learned from his past mistakes, he was not going to ease up. A straight right found its target, and Bernal took a knee to recover from the clean shot to the ribs.
"I knew he was getting tired, so I went to the body," said Viloria. "I fired off great shots and I eventually floored him."
Bernal quickly got up to beat the referee's count, and continued to hold onto the charging Viloria until the final bell sounded. Even though the Hawaiian Punch did not have time to finish off his opponent, he was able to celebrate, as each judge scored the fight 78-72 in Viloria's favor.
"I give myself an A-/B+ tonight," Viloria said. "There are a lot of improvements that I need to make for next time. I know I need to use my stock of weapons that I have. Tonight, I kept going to the body and throwing jabs, and it worked well for me. I'm going to the gym to work on those things, and come into this year with a better groove."
When asked what statement Viloria felt he made in his win against Bernal, he replied, "That I'm coming back bigger and better. Fighting in a tent under the pouring rain when I have fought under the lights of Las Vegas and Staples Center in Los Angeles was a very humbling experience for me, but this gets me grounded and back to the purity of the sport. I am working my way to another world title shot."