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Luis Nery stops Arthur Villanueva in Round 6 of non-title bout

Luis Nery attacks the rib cage of Arthur Villanueva. Photo by German Villasenor

WBC bantamweight titleholder Luis Nery overcame a knockdown to stop contender Arthur Villanueva in Round 6 of a non-title bout Saturday night at the Gasmart Stadium in Tijuana, Mexico.

It was Nery’s first defense since winning the title with a fourth-round technical knockout over Shinsuke Yamanaka on Aug. 15.

The southpaw Nery (25-0, 19 knockouts) easily won the first three rounds of the fight, effectively countering Villanueva with rights and lefts.

Villanueva, who is from the Philippines, dropped Nery to the canvas with a counter right to the head. Nery was not visibly hurt and was able to make it out of the round.

Both fighters had their moments midway through the scheduled 10-round bout, but it was Nery’s attack to the body that began breaking Villanueva down, particularly in the sixth round. A barrage of punches with a defenseless Villanueva on the ropes prompted referee Christian Curiel to step in and stop the bout at 1:19.

The win over Villanueva was Nery’s sixth consecutive knockout victory. Villanueva (31-3, 17 KOs) has now lost two of his last three bouts.

Nery tested positive for zilpaterol after the Yamanaka fight and the result could have been overturned to a no-contest, but the WBC last week ruled the test results to be the product of extenuating circumstances and that the fight outcome was final so long as Nery agreed to give Yamanaka a rematch. The fight is set to happen in early 2018.

In the co-feature, junior welterweight contender Jose Zepeda stopped a game Abner Lopez in the sixth round.

The southpaw Zepeda (28-1, 23 KOs) broke Lopez (25-8, 21 KOs) down before stunning him midway through the sixth round. Zepeda landed at will against a defenseless Lopez, who had his back against the ropes, until referee Christian Curiel waved the fight off at 1:42.

Zepeda has won his last five bouts in a row. Lopez has dropped four of his last six bouts.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper,, and He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.