By Ryan Songalia
While Brian Viloria celebrates winning his third world title, the man he may potentially face next is already counting the days until their showdown.
Viloria (29-3, 16 KO) of Waipahu, Hawaii scored a unanimous decision over Mexico's Julio Cesar Miranda Saturday night in Honolulu to win Miranda's WBO flyweight title. It was Viloria's third consecutive victory since losing the 108 pound title to Carlos Tamara via 12th round TKO last January.
Giovanni Segura - the WBO's "super champion" at the weight below (108 pounds) - claims that he is the rightful next challenger for the 2000 US Olympic representative.
"Viloria has to fight the mandatory with me," said the 29-year-old Segura, a native of Altamirano, Guerrero, Mexico now residing in Bell, Calif.
Segura (28-1-1, 24 KO) holds two knockout wins over future Hall of Famer Ivan Calderon and recently tested the waters at 115 pounds, knocking a journeyman out in the first round last month in a non-title bout.
Segura's manager Richard Mota said that, while there is nothing signed, there is an "understanding" that if Viloria won the fight, Segura would be next for Viloria.
"There's no signed contract on the fight yet, but it's mandatory by the WBO," said Mota.
"Since he was the champion at 108 and left the title vacant, he's the mandatory number one challenger. [Zanfer Promotions, which promotes Miranda and Segura] made a deal to give [Viloria] the chance without an optional defense."
Calls and emails to WBO president Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, ESQ as well as Viloria's manager Gary Gittelsohn were not returned by Sunday evening.
Regarding mandatory rankings for champions moving up in weight, the WBO's regulations state:
"If requested by a Super Champion, the Championship Committee may designate the Super Champion as the mandatory challenger for the immediate higher or lower division.
In the case of a Super Champion who has lost a fight since receiving Super Champion designation, the Championship Committee may recommend the designation of the Super Champion as the mandatory challenger for the immediate higher or lower division, which may then be designated by a ¾ vote of the Executive Committee."
Mota said that the cut Viloria suffered over his right eye may push a fight between the two back to next year. He said Segura may take a tuneup if Viloria isn't ready by the end of this year, but that he wouldn't allow Viloria to defend the title in the interim.
According to Segura, he and Viloria sparred together for a number of years out of the Azteca Boxing Club in Bell, Calif., helping Viloria to prepare for five of his fights, including his first orld title win against Eric Ortiz in 2005.
"We know each other well and he knows how strong I am," said Segura. "If I fight with Viloria, I will knock him out, no doubt."
When asked if he'd be willing to go to Hawaii to fight Viloria, Segura responded, "With pleasure."
"It's good for me. I'll stay for a vacation."
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News and the Filipino Reporter newspaper in New York City. He can be reached at email@example.com. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ryansongalia.
Giovani Segura's interview translated by Oscar Landa.