WBO strawweight titlist Wilfredo Mendez gets belted in his hometown
On Tuesday, newly crowned WBO strawweight beltholder Wilfredo Mendez was officially presented with his new championship belt at the mayor’s house in his hometown of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico.
Mendez (14-1, 5 knockouts) ended Puerto Rico’s dry spell at world-title level by outpointing Vic Saludar last weekend to become his commonwealth’s only active male world champion.
“I’m still super excited,” Mendez said at the event. “When I saw the video (of the fight) it gave me (a good) feeling. None of this wasn’t possible if it wasn’t for my brother (boxer Bernard Lebron). I saw him trying to lose weight. I said I wanted to follow him. I became a champion, but behind me there is a humility that recognizes those who gave me the opportunity.
“I became a champion at the perfect time. I will continue to work hard and it will be my turn to keep the title.”
“Bimbito” becomes the 60th Puerto Rican male to win a world title and the third do win a belt at strawweight following Ivan Calderon and Alex Sanchez.
WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcárcel was quick to remind Mendez of his new responsibilities.
“Now it is going to be difficult for you because you have to keep the title and you are an example for children to be a good citizen,” Valcárcel said. “That is the responsibility you assume today. Anyone can be a world champion, but not everyone holds himself as a champion.”
The mayor of Trujillo Alto, José Luis Cruz Cruz, is proud of his town’s third world champion.
“Seeing a son from this town be crowned world champion made me proud,” said the mayor. “We have seen ‘Bimbito’ grow in boxing and we know how much he worked to achieve this goal, and today, thanks to God and his determination, he can celebrate with his people the world title, joining the deeds of his other fellow [world champions from here] José ‘Cheíto’ Ruiz and José ‘Carita’ López.”