Matthew Villanueva Tops Julian Rivera, Remains Unbeaten
By Jake Donovan
Matthew Villanueva earned his 10th pro win the hard way, going ten rounds for the first time in his career and also in his first fight outside of the United States.
The unbeaten super flyweight prospect was given a stiff challenge from Julian Rivera, but fended off the determined journeyman to take a unanimous decision in their main event Friday evening in Mexico City.
Villanueva knew to expect a tough test from Rivera, a former title challenger whose lone stoppage loss came early in his career. The American was dominant early on, offering a healthy mix of boxing and slugging in his best effort to wear down Rivera.
The fight became interesting midway through, when Rivera rallied after taking his opponent's best punches. His efforts weren't properly reflected in the eyes of two of the three judges, but wasn't lost on Villanueva.
"He was resilient, he was tough like I thought he would be," Villanueva admitted after the fight. "I had to be smart in there and take my time."
Villanueva showed poise deep in the fight, a remarkable statement considering it was the first time he has ever been extended beyond the eighth round in his young career. A strong finish allowed the 26-year old to remain unbeaten.
Matching scores of 98-92 (twice) didn't properly reflect the competitve nature of the fight, as the third scorecard of 96-94 was more in line with what took place in the ring. Regardless, it's another win for Villanueva, who advances to 10-0-1 (8KO) on a night that marked another pair of firsts - his debut under the All-Star Boxing banner and his first headliner on the the Boxeo Telemundo circuit.
Rivera falls to 12-8-1 (2KO), having now lost two straight. The local fringe contender entered on the heels of a failed title bid against super flyweight titlist Juan Carlos Reveco last November on the road in Argentina. A three-fight win streak preceded his title challenge, all of which came on Telemundo.
Jessie Valenzuela joined his older brother south of the border, but failed to preserve his unbeaten record in falling short to Oscar Pena in their six-round super bantamweight bout.
A first-round knockdown proved to be the difference on the cards, with Pena prevailing by majority decision in a give-and-take affair.
Villanueva was vicious in his body attack - including several low blows that had Pena and viewers cringing in pain. However, it was a body shot from Pena that produced the bout's lone knockdown, a right hand that cause Villanueva's legs to kick out from under him.
The ensuing rounds saw both fighters give as well as they received, with Villanueva scoring repeatedly to the body. His momentum stalled in the final round, when back-to-back low blows forced Pena to twice drop to the canvas. A stern warning from the referee was followed by two-way action until the final bell.
Pena prevailed by scores of 57-56 (twice), overruling the knotted 56-56 verdict on the third card, as he advances to 3-2 (0KO). Villanueva loses for the first time, falling to 6-1 (4KO).
Salvador Juarez settled up past business in violent fashion, scoring an emphatic 2nd round knockout of Carlos Barraza in their flyweight bout.
A body shot froze Barraza along the ropes, giving Juarez time to plant his feet and drive home a long right uppercut to put his familiar foe down and out for the ten count and beyond.
Juarez evens up his record at 2-2-2 (1KO). Barraza falls to 7-4-1 (2KO), ending a four-fight win streak. The two fought to a four-round draw nearly two years ago.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by vacon04 on 06-22-2013
He looked pretty good. He has good boxing skills, he just needs to work a little bit more on his defense because he throws some wide shots and is open to counter attacks but he's still learning and has time…Post a Comment/View More User Comments (1)
Top Headlines Gutierrez Vows That Rosado Won't Make it To Chavez Jr. Fight Damon Allen Batters, Stops Danny Montoya in Three Rounds Golovkin's Coach: Canelo Had No Intention To Do The Fight! Mike Tyson: You Can't Call Tyson Fury a Bum After Klitschko Win Photos: Francisco Vargas Throws Out First Pitch at Dodgers Game Showtime Sues Top Rank: Mayweather-Pacquiao Legal Fee Dispute Fernando Montiel Not Looking To Retire, Plans To Fight Again Tony Bellew Gets Celebrity Backing as He Enters Makabu Fight Mike Tyson Lands Role in Reboot of The Kickboxer Franchise Duran Confident Mosley Secures Shot at Thurman-Porter Winner Sugar Ray Leonard: I Told Mayweather I Would Have Beat Him Photos: Ruslan Provodnikov, John Molina Training For War Nate Diaz: I'd Whoop Mayweather, McGregor Asses in One Night! Margarito Says Ramon Alvarez Likely, Wants Canelo Next Roach: Pacquiao Can Return For Canelo, But Floyd is Bigger Draw Hassan N'Dam vs. Swierzbinski, Amar-Demchenko Will Go Ahead Agit Kabayel Helping Tyson Fury Prepare For Klitschko Rematch Casimero is Ready, Wants Roman Gonzalez Unification Next Fortune To McGregor: Forget Mayweather, Shut Up F***ing Yapper! Povetkin's Promoter Embraces WBC Ruling on Deontay Wilder Mike Tyson: Foolish Plan, But Olympic Amateurs Might Beat Pros Anthony Cacace, Barry McGuigan Decide To Part Ways Hearn Urges Haye To Face Whyte To Speed Up Road To Joshua Deontay Wilder Granted Permission To Make Voluntary By WBC Zolani Tete: Haskins and McDonnell are Holding My Titles Kathy Duva To Be Honored At 7th Annual Raging Babe Brunch Jurors Set For All-Star Boxing vs. Canelo/Golden Boy Lawsuit Jazza Dickens (Injury) Pulled From June 4 Liverpool Show Miguel Flores To Face Ruben Tamayo on PBC on FS1 Erislandy Lara Sees No Network Issues in Making Golovkin Fight Casimero Knocks Out Ruenroeng In Four, Wins Flyweight Crown Focal Point: Lebedev Rises To Top Of Red-Hot Cruiserweight Division Keith Thurman: We Don't Yet Know If Kell Brook is 'Really Special' Provodnikov: Golovkin Blows Out Canelo, GGG-Ward is The Fight Michael Buffer on The UK Scene and Tony Bellew Friendship Morrison, Johnson To Return On June 18 In Manchester Parker Eyes War With Joshua, Brushes Off Whyte's Trash Talk Video: Ruslan Provodnikov Shows His Power on The Heavy Bag Groves Feels Murray Never Recovered From Pounding By Golovkin Video: Ruslan Provodnikov Details Strategy, Camp For Molina
Latest Boxing Video Video: Ruslan Provodnikov Shows His Power on The Heavy Bag Video: Ruslan Provodnikov Details Strategy, Camp For Molina Video: Joel Diaz on Recent Defeats of Victor Ortiz, Tim Bradley Video: Justin Fortune on Khan, Golovkin, McGregor, Canelo, More Video: John Molina Talks, Ruslan Provodnikov Crashes Interview Video: Ruslan Provodnikov Cracks Away on The Mitts Video: Provodnikov on Golovkin vs. Canelo, Facing John Molina Video: Shane Mosley vs. David Avanesyan Final Press Conference Video: David Avanesyan Confident of Stunning Shane Mosley Video: Martin Murray Confident of Taking Down George Groves
Recent Top Stories
Latest Active Forum Threads