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Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, March 29, 2000

O L Y M P I C _ S P O R T S

Associated Press
Brian Viloria of Waipahu scores with a jab
against Ecuador's Patricio Calero.

Viloria a step
closer to berth
on Olympic team

The boxer from Waipahu
wins his opening bout at the
America's Olympic Qualifier

By Pat Bigold


Waipahu's Brian Viloria overwhelmed his first opponent in the first round of the 2000 America's Olympic Qualifier yesterday at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Fla.

The 5-foot-4 Viloria, the reigning 106-pound world amateur champion, only needs to reach the finals of this tournament to secure his berth on the United States Olympic team.

Hawaii has not had a boxer in the Olympics since flyweight Ray Perez and bantamweight Choken Maekawa qualified for the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Viloria scored an 18-2 decision over Ecuador's Patricio Calero in his opening four-round qualifier bout, putting Calero on the canvas a minute into the first round.

"I threw a jab out there and he kind of ran right into it," said Viloria.

"He hit the floor and got up real quick. Then he started running away, and I had to chase him most of the fight. When I did get up to him, he started holding."

Viloria shut out Calero in the second and third rounds before finishing with a barrage of body punches.

Viloria's father, Ben, who flew to Tampa, said his son looked frustrated with the lopsided nature of the fight.

"Brian wanted to knock him out," said Ben Viloria, who videotaped the fight.

Viloria was to face his longtime nemesis, Mexican champion Liberio Romero, in the quarterfinals this morning.

The two fighters are 2-2 against each other in a series of close fights since the 1996 Junior Olympics.

Viloria defeated Romero, 12-8, last fall in the U.S. Olympic Cup tournament in San Diego, forcing two standing eight counts.

He lost to Romero by two points in a dual meet in May.

"I have a lot more confidence and experience now," said Viloria.

Viloria said he planned to use a body attack and crisp combinations to advance to the semifinals.

"He's (Romero) more of an inside fighter," said Viloria, who planned to use a body attack and crisp combinations to advance to the semifinals.

He said he wasn't impressed with Romero's opening 11-1 decision against Domenic Filane of Canada, noting that the Mexican didn't look as sharp as he remembers him from previous meetings.

If Viloria should lose in Tampa, he will have two more opportunities to punch his ticket to the Olympics.

He could compete in Mexico City in the Central American qualifier (April 17-22). Failing that, he would have the South American qualifier in Argentina (May 23-28).

Sydney 2000 Olympics

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