By Jake Donovan
Five days after watching his twin brother score the biggest win of his career, McWilliams Arroyo joined McJoe in the winner's circle. The Puerto Rican knockout artist earned a future title shot following a 2nd round knockout of Froilan Saludar in their flyweight title eliminator Thursday evening in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
Arroyo now becomes the mandatory challenger to flyweight titlist Amnat Ruenroeng, a feat that comes just five days after McJoe Arroyo stopped Hernan 'Tyson' Marquez to earn his own title shot in the 115 lb. division.
There seemed to be little concern about Arroyo entering the biggest fight as a pro following the longest layoff of his career. Injuries kept the Puerto Rican out of the ring since his win last Februay, fighting for the first time in 16 months and against an unbeaten challenger whose punching power earned him the nickname 'Sniper.'
However, it was Saludar who was eventually clipped by the shot he never saw coming. Arroyo was in control from the outset, but the knockout still came out of nowhere. As the action was flowing along late into the second round, the once-beaten Boricua connected with a massive left hook to put Saludar flat on his back.
The Filipino challenger never had a chance of beating the count, as referee Geno Rodriguez counted him out at 2:25 of round two.
Arroyo rolls to 15-1 (13KO) with the win, his 12th straight since suffering his lone loss early in his career.
Saludar leaves Puerto Rico with nothing but heartbreak in his first fight outside of the Philippines. His record now falls to 19-1-1 (13KO).
The win allows Arroyo and his twin brother to carry on their dream that was set when they first began boxing at the age of 12. The promise they made to each other was to fight on the highest stage together as an amateur, and then enjoy world class success hand-in-hand once they turned pro.
A bump in the road came early in McWilliams' career, suffering a knockdown and a surprise loss to Takashi Okada in June '10, when both were relative newcomers to the sport.
Arroyo bounced back in a big way, while Okada hasn't fought since a knockout loss to a five-fight clubfighter in Mexico last March.
Insisting on leaving the past in his rearview mirror, the 28-year old now looks to the biggest moment of his boxing life since he and his brother represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Beijing Olympics together.
"We dreamed as amateurs of fighting in the Olympics together; we fought in the 2008 Beijing Olympics," Arroyo points out. "We have a dream of becoming world champions in the pro ranks and we are now headed towards that goal."
With knockout wins to each earn their title shots, the Arroyo teams are not just marching together towards that goal, but plowing forward full steam ahead.
The bout aired live on Fox Sports 1.
On the undercard, Cesar Seda scored a 10-round wipeout of Mexico's Alex Rangel, recording his first win in more than a year while fighting for the first time since a points loss in his 122 lb. title challenge of Leo Santa Cruz last December. In the televised opener, Prichard Colon scored his 10th knockout in as many pro fights, stopping Carlos Garcia in the fifth round of their welterweight clash.
Off-camera, promising teenaged prospect Milton Santiago (6-0, 3KO) scored a four-round decision over Carlos Lopez (4-5, 0KO). Santiago, a 17-year old super lightweight from Philadelphia, turned pro this past February, becoming the youngest fighter ever to fight as a professional in the state of Pennsylvania.
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: