WORLD Boxing Council bantamweight champion Luis “Pantera” Nery of Mexico on Sunday morning (Philippine time) defeated Filipino pride “King” Arthur Villanueva in the 10-round non-title fight at Gasmart Stadium in Tijuana, Mexico.

The Negrense fighter bowed to Nery via technical knockout in 1:19 of the sixth round.

Nery started strong in the early rounds with a number of combinations on Villanueva who was fighting cautiously.

The Filipino champion found his chance in the fourth round when he landed a solid right on Nery sending the hometown hero into the canvas for a few seconds. Nery quickly picked himself and fought back.

Villanueva tried to take full control of the fight in the fifth round, but Nery connected some successful counters. Nery then came aggressively at the start of the sixth round, forcing Villanueva to the corner with a barrage of unanswered combinations before the referee finally stepped in and called for the stoppage.

The win improved Nery’s record to 25 wins with 19 knockouts while dropping Villanueva’s card to 31 wins with three losses and 17 stoppages.

For Villanueva, the call came too early.

“It was a disappointing night but I’m thankful for that opportunity. Nery was the better man tonight,” he said.

Coach Edito Villamor said that Villanueva fought well that resulted in Nery’s knockdown.

“Villanueva knocked him but, was eventually saved by the bell. We lost in sixth but, Arthur didn’t fall on the canvas,” the veteran ALA Boxing gym mentor said.

Villanueva’s team will return to the Philippines on November 7.