By Ryan Burton
Luis “Panterita” Nery (25-0) picked up another victory when he stopped Arthur Villanueva (31-3) in six rounds at the Gasmart Stadium in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The official time of the stoppage was 1:19.
The Filipino dropped Nery late in the fourth round but the rally was short lived as the knockdown appeared to help Nery refocus and batter Villanueva in the fifth. He continued his assault in the sixth and the referee stopped the fight when Villanueva stopped responding.
Nery captured the WBC bantamweight title in August when he stopped Shinsuke Yamanaka in four rounds. Yamanaka retired after the bout. He had 12 successful title defenses prior to the loss.
A week after the bout, the WBC announced that Nery, 22, failed a drug test performed in the lead-up to the fight with an amount of the banned substance Zilpaterol detected. The findings were from Nery’s “A” sample taken July 27, but additional tests taken in Japan gave negative results.
The World Boxing Council ordered an immediate rematch between Shinsuke Yamanaka and Luis Nery for its bantamweight title on Tuesday, three months after the latter failed a drug test.
The sanctioning body issued a ruling saying “the WBC cannot make a determination with sufficient certainty as to whether Mr. Nery’s adverse finding was the result of intentional ingestion of a banned substance to improve performance.”
Super lightweight contender Jose Zepeda (28-1) took another step to a title shot with a knockout victory over Abner Lopez (25-8) in Tijuana, Mexico on a Zanfer Promotions card. Zepeda dominated from the opening bell and has now won 5 in a row since a dislocated shoulder forced Zepeda to quit on his stool against then WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan in 2015. Zepeda poured it on in the sixth and Lopez didn’t fire back, forcing the referee to stop the fight at the 1:17 mark.