MANILA, Philippines - Brian Viloria feels he’s never been in better shape for a fight, making him confident he can handle Carlos Tamara in his second defense of his IBF junior flyweight championship at the Cuneta Astrodome on Jan. 23.
“I’m a lot better from the last time I was here for the (Archie) Solis fight. I’ve improved so much from then. I’ve been improving from fight to fight,” said Viloria before a select group of local media at The Fort yesterday.
“I’m in great shape and I’m focused on this fight. I believe my chance to win is up there,” added Viloria, determined to get the win that could well prepare him for a unification bout with WBC light flyweight champion Ivan Calderon.
Viloria and some members of his team flew in from the United States Monday. His head trainer Roberto Garcia will follow Tuesday.
Assistant trainer and cut man Ruben Gomez said Viloria has a tough challenger in Tamara but they expect the Fil-Am champion to win.
“Tamara is very tough. He’s also an Olympian and has fought champion fighters going the distance. We expect a good fight. Brian would win using all knowledge and resources,” said Gomez.
“We’re confident because we’ve got the old Brian. He’s back as an aggressive fighter,” Gomez also said.
Viloria trained for the “Boxing at the Bay” headliner at the Oxnard Boxing Academy in Oxnard, California under the watchful eyes of Garcia and Gomez.
He’s done 36 rounds of sparring versus Eric Ruiz and Sergio Herrera in his last week in the US and will get a few more versus Denver Cuello at the Punch-Out Gym in Makati.
“I’m ready for the fight. We’re done with the training and we’ll just try to maintain my condition in this last few days before the fight,” said Viloria.
He said he’s never had a problem with the weight.
“I’m two pounds over the limit right now. But I can eat anything and make the weight (108 pounds) right tonight,” said Viloria.
Viloria, the former WBC light flyweight champion, won the IBF junior flyweight crown as he put in the best performance of his career to beat Solis on April 19, 2009 at the Araneta Coliseum.
“The Hawaiian Punch” won his first defense of the title four months later with a unanimous decision against Jesus Iribe.
Viloria has a fight record of 26 wins (14 by knockouts) against two losses.
Tamara, who is originally from Colombia but now trains out of New Jersey, is 20-4 with 14 knockouts. He is ranked No. 7 in the light flyweight division by the IBF.
In the undercard, WBO mimimumweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes will put his crown on the line against Jesus “Negrito” Silvestre of Mexico.
It will be Nietes’ fourth defense of the vacant title he claimed after whipping Thailand’s Pronsawan Porpramook in 2007. – Nelson Beltran