Sunday, April 02, 2023  |


Banner, Thompson Boxing sign amateur standout Ruben Villa

Ruben Villa (second from right). Photo: Carlos Baeza/Thompson Boxing
Fighters Network

Shakur Stevenson is regarded as America’s best hope to win gold for the men at the Rio Games this summer. The guy who beat him twice in the amateurs is about to embark on his professional career.

Amateur standout Ruben Villa signed a co-promotional deal with Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing, it was announced on Tuesday. Villa plans to make his pro debut on Friday at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California on the Thompson Boxing undercard of Jose Roman vs. Carlos Cardenas.

The 19-year-old from Salinas, California lost to Stevenson in the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Trials after beating him twice in 2015. Villa finished his amateur career with a record of 166-17, which included a pair of National Golden Gloves championships at 123 pounds. He plans to campaign as a featherweight as a pro.

“I am excited, and I have been working very hard to get to this point,” Villa said in a press release. “I cannot wait to turn professional. It is very cool to sign with two great promoters. We were offered the opportunity, and we took it. As for the Olympic trials I was disappointed, yet happy at the same time. I was happy to make it that far, and now I am ready for the next phase of my career.”

Of Stevenson, who has emerged as a sort of media darling and favorite of a number of pros, such as Andre Ward and Terence Crawford, Villa said, “He is a good fighter, and I hope he wins a medal and at some point we can break the tie in our fights against each other. I see that as a big fight down the line in the pros.”

The 5’6″ Villa is managed and trained by Danny Zamora, who performs the same roles with lightweight contender Petr Petrov.