Thursday, August 05, 2021

Villanueva back, eyes bigger fights

ARTHUR Villanueva has proved that he still has a lot left in his tank after a convincing victory in his ring comeback from retirement.

“I think I did what we practiced in training. I didn’t execute everything, but I think I performed well, especially against a southpaw, which I usually have a hard time against. I will continue to train so that anytime I’ll be ready to fight again. I only had a month of training for this fight. I’ll start to condition myself now so that if I’m given another fight, I’ll have a longer preparation,” Villanueva told SunStar Cebu.

Villanueva defeated promising prospect Bryan Tamayo by a convincing unanimous decision in “Kumbati 9” on March 27, 2021 at the IPI Complex in Mandaue City. He got the nod of all three judges with scores of 59-55, 59-55 and 59-55.

Villanueva hung up his gloves in 2019 following a sixth round stoppage loss to World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali in Kazakhstan. He felt that his body was all worn out from fighting professionally for 11 years and decided to call it a career.

The 32-year-old Villanueva, however, had a change of heart and decided to give boxing another shot after he received an offer from Slovenian manager Hinko Kostanvejec in 2020.

“I’m just waiting on when we will be given a fight. Maybe in May or in June. I’ll just keep myself ready so that anytime we receive an offer we can already go for it,” said Villanueva.

He said he would return home to Bago City to rest and continue his training there.

Villanueva’s ultimate goal is to become a world champion. He has already attempted thrice and failed against Oubaali in 2019, Zolani Tete in 2017 and McJoe Arroyo in 2015.

“I’m ready for the big fights as long as I train really well for it. I know I still have it. I just lack the conditioning,” said Villanueva, who improved to 33-4-1 with 18 knockouts after his win over Tamayo.

Even though he retired, Villanueva is still rated No. 22 by the WBC.

“I don’t have plans yet. But I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me,” he said.

Maybe a little bit of respite was what Villanueva needed to rekindle his passion for boxing.


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