Brian Viloria out to claim WBA title

Brian Viloria

MANILA — Brian Viloria is out to prove he’s still on top of his game when the Hawaiian Punch battles unbeaten Artem Dalakian of Ukraine for the vacant WBA flyweight title at the Forum in Inglewood, California, on Feb. 24.

Viloria, 37, is a former IBF/WBC light flyweight and WBA/WBO flyweight titlist. When Japan’s Kazuto Ioka relinquished the WBA 112-pound championship last November, the governing body picked No. 1 contender Dalakian and No. 2 contender Viloria to dispute the vacant throne.

“I’ve worked very hard to earn this shot for a fifth world title and I’m not going to let it slip away,” said Viloria. “I won my first world title in Los Angeles and I couldn’t be more excited to be back home to fight for the championship in front of my friends, family and supportive fans.”

Viloria lives in Los Angeles with his wife Erica and their son Tyler. In 2005, he claimed his first world title via an opening round knockout over Eric Ortiz for the WBC lightflyweight belt at the Staples Center in L. A. 

“I’ve been working in the gym for more than a month in the hope that this fight would materialize,” said Viloria. “I want to thank Mr. (Akihiko) Honda and his staff at Teiken Promotions for delivering this opportunity, and also to Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions for including this bout on the second successful ‘Superfly’ event. I’m eager to prove once again that I’m the premier flyweight in the world and you can count on seeing the best Brian Viloria ever. I’ve always given the fans an honest account in the ring and they won’t be disappointed on February 24.”

The bout will be shown on HBO Boxing After Dark. It’s an added attraction to the second edition of HBO’s super flyweight series. Viloria is coming off back-to-back wins over Mexicans Ruben Montoya and Miguel Cartagena to raise his record to 38-5, with 23 KOs. Dalakian, 30, is the WBA Continental and International flyweight ruler. His record is 15-0, with 11 KOs.  It will be Dalakian’s first fight outside of Ukraine. 

“Viloria is a good boxer and was a champion but his time is up,” said Dalakian who was born in Azerbaijan and is now based in Ukraine. “I’m going to the US to become a world champion and to prove to everyone that I’m the best.”

Ioka, 28, is a three-division world champion who recently ended his ring career in the wake of a split from his father and trainer Kazunori over his marriage to singer Nana Tanimura last May. Ioka hasn’t fought since retaining the WBA title on a decision over Thailand’s Noknoi Sittiprasert in Osaka last April. His father cited “lack of motivation” in suggesting retirement and Ioka made it official a few days ago.