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Weight Over

Waipahu's Viloria gets a title shot at 112 pounds

By Billy Hull


Brian Viloria's latest opportunity at a world title isn't quite like the others. Not only is the former two-time world champion challenging for a belt for the first time in Hawaii, he's vying to become the World Boxing Organization champion at his more natural weight of 112 pounds.

The former IBF and WBC light flyweight champion will try to add the WBO flyweight belt to his resume against title-holder Julio Cesar Miranda in the main event of Island Assault 2 on Saturday night at the Blaisdell Arena.

The majority of Viloria's 32 professional fights have been at flyweight, but when opportunities at a world title came about, they were always in the 108-pound division.

Now, the Waipahu High School alumnus has his chance at being a world champion in multiple divisions.

The 4-pound difference not only makes today's weigh-ins a little easier, but could mean a different, more powerful "Hawaiian Punch."

"Looking back at it, it still amazes me that I could make the 108 weight," Viloria said Thursday.

"I think I can hold on to my power a lot more and I feel great because I can concentrate a lot more on what I have to do instead of losing those last couple of pounds to make weight."

Viloria (28-3, 16 knockouts) has won back-to-back fights after losing the IBF belt in a stunning 12th-round TKO loss to Carlos Tamara last January.

That came on the heels of his last fight in Hawaii, a unanimous decision win over Jesus Iribe in August 2009.

In that fight, Viloria had a comfortable lead heading into the final round when he threw caution to the wind and engaged in a dangerous slugfest with Iribe, much to the pleasure of the 3,000 people in attendance.

This time, Viloria is intent on giving the fans what they want, but knows winning the world title is top priority.

"It's (about) sticking to your game plan and not letting the crowd dictate how you fight in the ring," Viloria said. "This is very important because it's what every athlete or any fighter trains for.

"A world championship is the ultimate goal."

Miranda (35-5-1, 28 KOs) has the best credentials of anybody Viloria has faced in Hawaii.

The 31-year-old Mexican flyweight has won his last five bouts in eight rounds or less, including a fifth-round TKO victory over Richie Mepranum to win the belt last June.

However, all of those fights have been in his native country of Mexico, leaving him in an unusual position as a champion fighting in the challenger's hometown.

"I knew the circumstances coming over here," Miranda said through a translator yesterday. "I know it's the defining fight of my career, so I'm prepared for it."

While Miranda has fought four times in 13 months, Viloria has had an eight-month layoff since his last fight.

It's the most time off between bouts since losing his first world title to Edgar Sosa in 2007.

"After I got married in December I went right back to training in January, so it's not like I haven't been doing anything," Viloria said. "I feel refreshed. … I feel like everything fell into place at the right time, and I can't wait until Saturday night to get in the ring."

The event features five different fights and will be available on Oceanic pay-per-view on the neighbor islands only.

The opening fight is a women's bout pitting Houston's Tiffany Junot (9-2-1, 6 KOs) against Ku‘ulei Kupihea of Kapolei.

There will also be a welterweight fight between Kalihi's Michael Balasi (9-1, 7 KOs) and Hilo's Van Oscar Penovaroff (6-0-1, 4 KOs).

All 10 fighters will have to make weight at today's weigh-ins at 1:30 p.m. at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel.

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