Viloria gets shot at title
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
Brian Viloria's year of revival will be rewarded with a world championship bout.
Viloria has been named the mandatory challenger for the light flyweight world championship by the IBF organization. The Waipahu boxer is expected to face champion Ulises Solis in a world title bout in late September or October, according to his manager, Gary Gittelsohn.
"We got a letter saying that Solis was due to have a mandatory contest against the leading available contender, and Brian was that leading contender," Gittelsohn said. "This wasn't on our radar, so it's a pleasant surprise."
Gittelsohn said negotiations for the bout just started, so the logistics have yet to be determined.
He said Top Rank is scheduled to promote the bout, so there is a possibility it could be staged on a pay-per-view card featuring Kelly Pavlik against Bernard Hopkins on Oct. 18 in Atlantic City.
"That's the card that jumps out right now, and it would be a great showcase," Gittelsohn said. "But there are still a lot of things to be worked out before we can even begin to look at that."
Viloria — a 1998 graduate of Waipahu High who now trains in Oxnard, Calif. — is 22-2 with 13 knockouts.
He was the WBC light flyweight champion in 2006, but lost two title bouts in 2007.
"Brian has had to take a few steps backward to help himself move forward," Gittelsohn said. "Our plan for this year was to keep Brian as busy as possible in hopes that he would get another (championship) shot by the end of the year."
Viloria is 3-0 in 2008, and was scheduled to face unranked Antonio Diaz in a non-title bout this Saturday at Las Vegas. Gittelsohn said he canceled that bout when the IBF informed him of the title opportunity.
Solis is 27-1-2 with 20 knockouts. He won the IBF light flyweight championship in January 2006, and has successfully defended it six times since.
"Solis is widely recognized as the best 108-pound fighter in the world," Gittelsohn said. "He has a very difficult style. He's herky-jerky and he has a lot of movement.
"One thing I am certain about is Brian is stronger, and has a stronger punch."
Solis has recently been nicknamed "The Filipino Assassin" because of three victories over top-ranked fighters of Filipino heritage.
Viloria's recent victories have come in either the 112- or 115-pound weight class, so he will have to drop some pounds before the bout with Solis.
"Brian on occasion has told me that he didn't think he could go down to 108 anymore," Gittelsohn said. "But he's in peak shape right now because he was supposed to fight Saturday, and with at least two months to come down to weight, I think he can do it properly and maintain his strength."
Reach Dayton Morinaga at email@example.com.