Viloria to defend IBF title today
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
Brian Viloria has a new title outside of the boxing ring — fiance.
Inside the ring, Viloria wants to keep his title as world champion today.
The newly engaged Viloria will defend his IBF light flyweight world championship against Carlos Tamara today at the Cuneta Astrodome in Manila, Philippines.
"I'm expecting a tough fight," said Viloria, who was raised in Waipahu, but trains out of Oxnard, Calif. "Tamara is tall and lanky, so I think he'll fight from the outside. I have to work my way inside, maybe work the body and use my combinations."
Viloria, 29, is 26-2 with 15 knockouts. This will be the second defense of the IBF title he won in April 2009.
Tamara, who is from Colombia but trains out of New Jersey, is 20-4 with 14 knockouts. He is the No. 7-ranked contender in the light flyweight (108 pounds) class of the IBF.
"This is not an opponent we picked, or had a say in," said Gary Gittelsohn, Viloria's manager. "This is a mandatory defense. The IBF set this up, so we're expecting a tough fight."
Viloria and his training team have been in Manila for the past two weeks preparing for tonight's bout.
"Just trying to get adjusted to the time difference and the weather," Viloria said. "The training went very well. No problems. I'm ready."
Viloria is undefeated since 2008, a streak of seven consecutive victories. His last bout — at the Blaisdell Center Arena in August — resulted in a unanimous decision victory over Jesus Iribe of Mexico.
Both Viloria and Tamara are former Olympic boxers. Viloria represented the United States in 2000, and Tamara represented Colombia in 2004 (neither won a medal).
Tamara's four losses have come via decision, including a unanimous decision loss to Omar Narvaez in a flyweight (112 pounds) world title bout in 2008.
"He's a little bigger than Brian, and he's never been stopped," Gittelsohn said of Tamara.
"Brian is prepared to go the distance against this guy, and he really had to step up his training."
The bout is scheduled for 12 rounds. It will actually take place Saturday in the Philippines, but due to the time difference, Viloria's bout will start around 7:30 p.m. Hawai'i time today.
It will not be televised in Hawai'i.
Tamara was named as Viloria's next opponent in early December.
Since then, Viloria has been training in Oxnard ... and preparing for his Christmas Day proposal to longtime girlfriend Erica Navarro.
"It was a rough holidays for Brian in the sense that he was in the peak of his training and couldn't enjoy some of the spoils," Gittelsohn said. "But it was also the greatest of holidays in that he got engaged."
Viloria said: "Everything fit perfect. I knew the task at hand as far as preparing myself for this fight. But I also wanted (the proposal) to be special, and it was."