Q&A: Arthur Villanueva
Junior bantamweight Arthur Villanueva took an important step in his career when he faced heavy-handed Mexican Julio Cesar Miranda last Saturday, winning a wide 10-round decision by the scores of 99-93, 99-93 and 99-91.
Miranda was the first former world champion the unbeaten Filipino has faced in his career. It’s a rite of passage all up-and-coming young fighters have to undergo before they can bridge the gap between being a contender and a champion.
Villanueva (27-0, 14 knockouts) appreciated the opportunity to showcase his skills but was very aware of the Mexican’s experience and power.
“[He was] very dangerous because he is a world-caliber boxer but I was looking forward to this fight,” Villanueva told RingTV.com. “I proved I am worthy of my world rating.”
Last year Villanueva, who is currently rated No. 6 at 115 pounds by THE RING, came under some criticism despite winning both his fights.
“Yes, I struggled in my two fights,” admitted the recently turned 26-year–old. “On those two fights, I wanted to knock my opponent out with just one punch and that was a stupid thing to do.”
Here’s what Villanueva had to say when RingTV.com caught up with him:
Anson Wainwright – What are your thoughts on your fight with Julio Cesar Miranda?
Arthur Villanueva – It was be a good experience for me to fight a former world champion. I was excited for our fight and I was well prepared.
AW – Prior to the Miranda fight you won a split decision over Henry Maldonado. Tell us about that fight?
AV – I was 100 per cent conditioned during that fight and I fought hard. For me, Maldonado is not an easy opponent. He is a world-caliber fighter. Styles makes a fight and his awkward style made it slightly difficult for me.
AW – If we take you back, you were born in Bago City, Philippines – what was your youth like?
AV – Back when I was in grade school, I liked sports. I engaged in volleyball, taekwondo, chess, basketball, and boxing as an amateur. My family has always been there to support me in everything I do.
AW – How did you become interested in boxing?
AV – Before, I only tried boxing but I never thought that I would become a champion because I only saw boxing as a sport, but now it has become my profession.
AW – The ALA Gym (Cebu City, Philippines) is famous for producing top talents that have developed into world champions. Tell us first-hand what it is like training there?
AV – For me it is all about the attitude of the boxer towards training but one thing is for sure – what we get from ALA Gym is the good guidance of our manager/father, Mr. Antonio L. Aldeguer. Discipline and character are two of the most important things in ALA Gym.
AW – What are your thoughts on the junior bantamweight division and current champions Carlos Cuadras (WBC), Kohei Kono (WBA), Zolani Tete (IBF) and Naoya Inoue (WBO)?
AV – I would like to fight them if given the chance. I know those would not be easy fights – especially for WBC champ Cuadras and WBO Naoya Inoue.
AW – Are you targeting anyone in particular?
AV – I am aiming [for the] WBO because I am [highly ranked] right now and I have a big chance to fight for a championship. (Note: the WBO’s January 2015 rankings put Villanueva at No. 4.) But that would still depend on my manager and promoter.
AW – What sort of impact has Manny Pacquiao had on your career?
AV – It is an honor for me to be a Filipino because everyone in the boxing world gets respect in the ring because of Manny Pacquiao. It encourages me and makes me proud that I am a Filipino boxer.
AW – Away from boxing, what would you say about your life?
AV – When I am not in the ring, I spend my time with my family and friends. I play basketball too.
AW – In closing do you have a message for the junior bantamweight division?
AV – For those other fighters in the junior bantamweight division: I’ll see you in the ring.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright