By Francisco Salazar
Ruben Villa has racked up frequent flyer miles as an amateur and a pro. He will do something tonight that he has never done in his career: Fight before a hometown crowd.
Villa will face Marlon Olea at the Salinas Storm House in Salinas, California. The fight will headline a Thompson Boxing Promotions card and will be streamed live on their Facebook page or ThompsonBoxing.com (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
A regional title belt will be on the line.
The 20-year-old former amateur standout has mostly fought in Southern California, sprinkled with a few fights in the East Coast. Not only will Villa fight in his hometown, but he will be the main event.
Villa (10-0, 4 knockouts), who has two amateur wins over unbeaten prospect Shakur Stevenson, is looking to put on a great show for family and friends.
"I'm excited to headline my first event," said Villa, who is co-promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing. "I've been preparing for this my whole life. It came fast. There's a lot to be happy about. It's a title fight and it will be in front of my hometown fans."
While Villa will have multiple emotions running through his body right before the fight, he has had to deal with family and friends asking for tickets or other factors that could distract a boxer fighting in his hometown.
Villa remained composed during the last couple of weeks, not wanting to overlook Olea (13-2, 12 KOs, a hard-hitting fighter from Colombia.
"He's a mover and he's quick with his hands," said Villa. "I'll be ready for him. We got a little bit of everything in this training camp. I sparred guys that like to box and guys that come in and pressure."
Tonight's card in Salinas, which has been in the making for over a year, has been something Villa and fight fans in Salinas have looked forward to.
A resounding win could establish Villa as one of the best prospects in boxing. As much as Villa would want to feed off the crowd and score a knockout win, he wants to remain focused and complete the task at hand.
"To be honest, I'm not sure how it's going to feel to fight in my hometown. I tend to tune out all the (loud) noise and just box. I'm sure there will be some moments when I recognize the crowd. I have to enjoy it, but keep my poise."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing