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World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao (left) congratulates World Boxing Organization flyweight champion Brian Viloria after defeating Mexican challenger Giovani Segura during their title bout in Pasig City on Dec. 11. Viloria retained his WBO flyweight championship belt via an 8-round TKO against challenger Segura.  (AP photo/Pat Roque)


In what has been described as the “upset of the year,” World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight champion Brian Viloria dealt heavy favorite Giovani Segura of Mexico his second professional defeat during the “Island Assault 3” at the Ynares Sports Arena Coliseum in Pasig City Sunday morning.

Viloria, the 31-year-old Fil-Am, known as “The Hawaiian Punch,” stopped Segura, ranked number nine in Ring’s pound-for-pound elite list, with barely 30 seconds into the eighth round, to breathe new life into a roller-coaster type career that had boxing observers doubting his future.

At fight’s end, Segura, 29, had a big lump the size of a golf ball on the right side of his face, the result of constant pounding by Viloria’s left hook.

According to reports, Segura sustained an orbital fracture and had an intravenous device hooked on to him at the Medical City immediately after the fight.

Viloria’s record now stands at 30-3 (17 KOs) while the hard-hitting Segura, born in Cuidad Altamirano, Guerrero, Mexico, stands to lose his number nine pound for pound ranking, aside from going down to 28-2 (24 KO).

Segura vacated his Ring, World Boxing Association (WBA) and WBO light flyweight titles to move up to the flyweight division and challenge Viloria.

Before his shock loss to Viloria, Segura had emerged victorious from a number of spectacular fights.

He knocked out Puerto Rico’s undefeated champion Ivan Calderon in the eighth round to unify the WBO, WBA and Ring light flyweight titles.

Segura then went on to defeat former champion Manuel Vargas by knockout in the seventh round before getting rid of Calderon in a return match in the third round.

Films we saw of Segura’s fights before stepping into the ring against Viloria, clearly established the reason for the Mexican being described as “fearsome” and installed as an overwhelming favorite against the erratic Viloria.

The fight was action-packed from the opening bell with Segura wasting no time in trying to impose his will on Viloria.

As the fight progressed, it became clear that, unlike previous occasions, Viloria had enough strength to go the distance, if necessary.

One could only recall in horror, Viloria’s second defense of his International Boxing Federation light flyweight title on Jan. 23, 2010 against Colombia’s Carlos Tamara at the Cuneta Astrodome when “The Hawaiian Punch” ran out gas and lost by TKO in the 12th round although he was ahead on points.

A few minutes later, Viloria passed out due to exhaustion and was carried out on a stretcher.

On the other hand, Segura had beaten Tamara by unanimous decision in 2006 to win the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) light flyweight title in Arizona.

But no, it was an altogether different Viloria Sunday morning in a fight that was beamed to Mexico.

Viloria’s punches to the body slowed down Segura making the Mexican vulnerable to Viloria’s steady bombardment with left hooks to the right side of Segura’s face prompting referee Samuel Viruet to stop the fight by the eighth.

Segura did not protest Viruet’s decision.

Viloria’s 10-year ring career has been marked by his moving up and down the light flyweight and flyweight divisions.

Starting out as a flyweight in 2001, Viloria went on to win the WBC youth flyweight and NABF flyweight crowns.

In 2005, Viloria went down to the light flyweight division and started the ball rolling by knocking out Mexico’s Eric Ortiz to win the WBC light flyweight title.

Viloria went on a 20-win run that was broken by a loss by unanimous decision to Omar Niño Romero of Mexico over 12 rounds in 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Viloria attempted to take back his light flyweight title three months later against Romero at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

The fight was declared a “No Contest (NC),” the second time Viloria figured in an “NC.”

Reports state that, although officially, the bout ended in a majority decision for Romero, the Mexican was stripped of his title when he failed a post-fight drug test and was found positive for methamphetamines.

The first NC of Viloria was early in his career, in 2002, against Alberto Rossel.

The bout was originally declared a technical draw because of a cut caused by a head butt on Rossel’s head before the end of the third round.

The decision was however overturned by the West Virginia Athletic Commission which declared an “NC.”

What’s next for Viloria?

Things are definitely looking up after his victory over Segura, who fought as an amateur for six years.

While the flyweights and other lower weight divisions have never really attracted the U.S. television audience, Viloria has enough prospective opponents, among them, Calderon and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, to make the flyweight and bantamweight divisions truly exciting.