Photo © Michael Ocana
It’s refreshing when you see two young unbeaten fighters meet each other, looking to advance their respective careers. That’s what is bound to happen this weekend when Arthur Villanueva, 20-0 (11), and Marco Demecillo, 18-0-1 (14), meet for Villanueva’s OPBF (Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation) super flyweight title. ALA President/CEO Michael Aldeguer describes this weekend’s bout with Demecillo as “having the making of a [Erik] Morales-[Marco Antonio] Barrera-type of fight because both Villanueva and Demecillo will come to fight and will never back down.” He also believes the impact will be of great significance, adding, “It’s a must-see fight for the fight fans and one of the most anticipated fights by the Philippine media as they feel whoever wins is ready for the big time as both are young and undefeated.” Neither fighter is currently ranked in the top 10 by the various sanctioning bodies; however, Villanueva is currently ranked at number 10 by the WBA and 11 by both the IBF and the WBO. The winner of this bout will move closer to his greater goal of winning a world title. Here’s what Villanueva had to say ahead of the bout.
Anson Wainwright - This Saturday, you meet Marco Demecillo. It looks like a big fight which will propel the winner onto the world scene. Could you share your thoughts on the fight?
Arthur Villanueva - I am excited and ready for this fight.
AW - When you look at Demecillo, what do you see in terms of his fighting ability?
AV - Demecillo is a brave boxer and has powerful punches.
AW - In your last fight, you beat Taiki Eto to win the OPBF super flyweight championship. It was an entertaining bout in which you were on the floor in the opening round and again in the ninth. He was also on the canvas in the fourth round. Could you talk us through the contest?
AV - During our fight, I did not expect that Taiki Eto had the power. He caught me with his punch during the first round and in the ninth round but fortunately, I was able to send him to the canvas in the fourth round and beat him. He is very tall and moves a lot that I had to jump at times to catch him with my punches.I learned much in that fight and that is not to underestimate your opponent’s strength...be ready and be prepared.
AW - You’re part of the very successful and world-renowned ALA gym. Could you tell us how you came to be a part of that?
AV - It started when I fought in Bacolod in one of the events of ALA Promotions in 2011. It was there where my manager and I requested if I can join ALA boxers and train with them. From then on, everything else followed.Joining ALA Gym is a blessing. They have given me more opportunities and exposure. And I wish to thank ALA Boxing Gym and ALA Promotions. It is because of Sir ALA of ALA Boxing and Sir Mike Aldeguer of ALA Promotions and now I will have my first defence for my OPBF belt.
AW - You were born in Bago City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. What was your youth like?
AV - It is just like any ordinary boy living in a province or small town like Bago City, Philippines. There are 12 siblings in the family. My father is an ordinary worker and my mother stays at home and takes care of us.My father had always been supportive to us and strived hard for us. That’s why when he passed away, it was so hard for us to earn for a living. I was only 15 when my father passed away.
AW - How did you first become interested in boxing?
AV - During my primary years in school, I had always participated in various sports activities in our school like men’s volleyball, chess, Tae Kwon Do.I was 16 when my high school friend had asked me to accompany him for a “try out” in amateur boxing but he did not pass so he asked me if to try my luck and I did. I passed the try out and competed for interschool competition and represented our school in various amateur boxing tournaments and eventually turned to professional boxing when I was 19 years old.
AW - What are your thoughts on the current super flyweight champions?
AV - I have not watched their fights but being a champion is something that ain’t to be taken for granted and hopefully, I’ll be able to face them someday.
AW - When you’re not boxing, what do you enjoy doing with your time?
AV - If I’m not into boxing, probably, I will be working now to help my family. As for my pastime, usually, I do not go out. I just stay at home and watch TV. I am just a simple person with no particular hobbies.
AW - Manny Pacquiao has opened all sorts of doors for Filipino boxers. What are your thoughts on that?
AV - Manny Pacquiao will always be my idol, not just for Filipinos but also to those who love the sport of boxing.
AW – Finally, do you have a message for Marco Demecillo ahead of your fight?
AV - See you on April 20. May the best man win.
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