WBO flyweight titleholder Brian "Hawaiian Punch" Viloria surprised many by not letting anyone down last night, beating up Giovani Segura over seven rounds and some change, and scoring a minor upset by retaining his belt via eighth round stoppage in the Philippines.
It was a fight many felt that the historically inconsistent Viloria would lose -- after all, it's been a long time since he's had back-to-back big wins, and his title-winning victory on July 16 over Pingo Miranda even surprised a few who had written Viloria off for the second or third time. But the 31-year-old Viloria just wasn't going to be denied in this one, and came out looking like the better, more complete fighter.
In the opening round, the tone of the fight was set quickly, as Viloria landed clean left hooks while Segura took wild swings and mostly missed badly with both hands. Loading up on his shots and ignoring his defense, Segura continued to get hit in round two, though he had a bit more offensive success in the second frame as well, including a hard uppercut that seemed to come nearly from the ground, Chad Bradford-style.
It became a phone booth fight for much of the remainder of the bout, with Segura developing a pretty huge hematoma on the right side of his head, which he mostly ignored and fought through as if it weren't even there. Viloria continued to land hard blows to the head, but Segura found some openings to the body and stayed in the fight.
The middle rounds were essentially even, as Segura attacked the body and Viloria went into a counter-punching mode for the most part, still willing to war and trade with Segura, and seemingly having no fear of the former junior flyweight champion's storied power shots. Simply put, Viloria was able to avoid much of Segura's heavy artillery, and what he did take flush, he was able to shake off. It may be that Segura's power isn't quite as enormous at 112 as it was at 108, but credit has to go to Viloria, too, for showing an ability to not get hit, and to fairly easily withstand getting hit when he did.
The finish came in the eighth round. With Segura's injury getting worse and worse, he was going for broke on big shots, and was caught with a counter left hand, staggering Segura and causing referee Samuel Viruet to jump in. While it can be argued that it was a quick hook, Segura didn't seem to be terribly upset or anything, and seemed to understand that he was on a short leash at that point. It was an injury on par with what Pawel Wolak had in July in his first fight with Delvin Rodriguez, and the referee made the call to stop the fight.
For Viloria (30-3, 17 KO), this is probably a career-best win, as some people had Segura (28-2-1, 24 KO) in their pound-for-pound top ten, including Ring Magazine. The challenger was the favorite in this fight, as most figured that his power, combined with Viloria's inconsistent nature, would be too much.
But it wasn't. Viloria put in another top performance, and established himself as one of the world's best at 112 pounds.
Mexico's Martin Honoro (32-6-1, 16 KO) won an IBF super featherweight eliminator, beating Fahsai Sakkreerin (36-3, 20 KO) by split decision. ... Lightweight prospect Al Sabaupan stayed unbeaten, improving to 18-0-1 (13 KO) with a fourth-round stoppage of Jonel Gadapan. ... Flyweight Arden Diale (17-6-3, 4 KO) won a ten-round decision over Tolits Sonsona (15-1-2, 5 KO).