Villanueva faces unlikely hurdle

FOLLOWING a long and grueling trip from Cebu to Kazakhstan, Arthur Villanueva faces another hurdle just days before his world title fight on Saturday, July 6, 2019, after losing his luggage.

“I can adjust to the long trip. But the problem right now is that my baggage didn’t arrive with me. All my workout gears, my fighting trunks, shoes and my weighing scale are all there. I haven’t worked out here but at least they have provided me with a gym here,” Villanueva, who arrived in Astana last Monday night, told SunStar Cebu.

The 30-year-old Villanueva challenges World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali at the Barys Arena.

“I feel pressured right now because I can’t monitor my weight,” said Villanueva, ranked No. 15 in the WBC. “The promoter has followed up my missing baggage. I hope that it will be here before Friday because all my workout gears and supplements are all there.”

Villanueva suspects that his luggage got lost along the way in one of the countries that they had a connecting flight. The only gear that Villanueva has is his mouthpiece and his groin guard

Villanueva, along with coaches Edito Villamor, Edmund Villamor and Michael Domingo, flew out from Cebu City last Sunday and had stops in Hong Kong, Dubai and Moscow. “Somebody came at the hotel yesterday and we told them our concern. Now, I still don’t have an update on my baggage,” he said. “I’m forcing myself not to get distracted but I still feel the pressure because of my weight and how to monitor it. In boxing, your first opponent is always your weight.”

Villanueva was two and a half pounds overweight before leaving Cebu City for Kazakhstan.

He will have his third world title attempt after losing his two previous tries--one at super flyweight and the other at bantamweight.

Villanueva lost to McJoe Arroyo by technical decision for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight belt in 2015.

He also lost to Zolani Tete by unanimous decision in the interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight championship in 2017. EKA


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