By Rey Danseco
BASED on the declaration that he is a Filipino and fights for the native land of his parents, Brian Viloria has become the Philippines’ fourth world light flyweight champion and the 35th titlist overall in country's history.
Viloria, who since May of this year, has cut back on eating his mother’s chicken adobo and lumpia and chows down on vegetables to reduce four pounds from his weight class, captured the World Boxing Council (WBC) 108-pound crown from erstwhile champion Eric Ortiz of Mexico via an impressive first round knockout.
The bout took place on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales' tune up fights against separate foes Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The 24-year old eldest son of Ben and Rosemarie, who hails from the town of Narvacan in Ilocos, Philippines, but stays in Hawaii for a living, publicly claimed he is a 100 percent Filipino in one of press conferences to promote the “Double Trouble” card of Top Rank, Inc.
Viloria was true to his words when he had Philippine flag on his trunks instead of a flag of the United States during his short route of taking the coveted 108-pound title. He then wrapped the RP flag to his body and waves it to the crowd after his victory.
His first phrase after his fight while still on the ring was “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas” (Long live the Philippines), instead of greeting the whole United States, which he represented in the 2000 Olympics and various major international amateur boxing events.
Viloria also admitted that he would’ve fought for the Philippines instead of the US in the Sydney Olympics had the invitation from Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines came way ahead of the USA trials.
The 5-foot-4 champions who inherit the nickname ``Hawaiian Punch'' from his fellow Filipino idol, the former WBA super bantam champ Jesus Salud, who was born to Filipino parents in Sinait in Ilocos Sur in 1963, followed the footsteps of former two-division champion Dodie Boy Peñalosa, Tacy Macalos, and Rolando Pascua.
Peñalosa, whose real name is “Diosdado” won the newly created IBF light flyweight title on Dec. 10, 1983 when he stopped Japanese Satoshi Shingaki in the final round in Castle Hall, Osaka, Japan.
Macalos dethroned South Korean Jum Hwan Choi also for the IBF 108-lb belt in Nov. 4, 1988 in Manila.
Finally, Pascua repeat the feat by knocking out heavily favored Humberto "Chiquita" Gonzalez in the sixth round to clinch and became the first Filipino holder of WBC light flyweight title in Inglewood, California.
The other Filipino world champions includes: flyweights Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guilledo, Benjamin “Small Montana” Gan, Eleuterio "Little Dado" Zapanta (and bantamweight), Salvador "Dado" Marino, Bernabe Villacampo, Erbito Salavarria (two-time), Frank Cedeño, Rolando Bohol, Malcolm "Eagle Eye" Tuñacao, and Pacquiao (also superbantam, Ring Mag. feather).
Also listed: middleweight Ceferino "Bolo Punch" Garcia, super lightweights Roberto Cruz, Pedro Adigue Jr. and Morris East, super featherweights Gabriel "Flash" Elorde, Rene Barrientos, Ben Villaflor (two-time), Rolando Navarrete, Roberto "Bobby Berna" Bernardez and Joselito Rivera, featherweight Luisito "Golden Boy / Lindol" Espinosa (and bantam) and Orlando Villaflor, welterweight William Magahin, minimumweight Eric "Kenta Sato" Chavez, Manny "Cabalay" Melchor, Ronnie "Toy Bulldog" Magramo, Eric Jamili, Joma Gamboa and Noel "The Eel" Tuñacao.