The featherweight division just got a bit more interesting. Top Rank has announced a “multi-fight promotional contract” with former featherweight title challenger Ruben Villa, who will make his promotional debut in an eight-rounder on their May 13th Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Steven Butler show in Stockton.
Solid wins over Luis Alberto Lopez, Enrique Vivas, and Alexei Collado earned “Drac” (19-1, 6 KO) a 2020 shot at featherweight gold after Shakur Stevenson vacated his WBO title. Said shot pitted him against Emanuel Navarrete, and though “Vaquero” dropped him twice en route to winning a decision, Villa did manage to take at least five rounds on all three scorecards in what was arguably Navarrete’s toughest pre-Liam Wilson fight.
He’s fought just once since that 2020 defeat, scoring an April 2022 knockout of Horacio Garcia.
Villa is still just 25 years old and extremely talented, the sort of fighter twho could make an impression among the newly refurbished featherweight elite. I’m certainly keen to see him back in action, though he’s got a few people ahead of him in the queue for another crack at Lopez.
Villa said, “I have always dreamed of fighting on ESPN consistently and being with Top Rank to make the big fights. I want to win a world title and to do it as soon as possible. I look forward to fighting in Stockton, where my hometown fans will be out in full force.”