Wednesday, May 31, 2023  |


Ruben Villa signs multi-fight deal with Top Rank

Ruben Villa. (Photo by Brett Ostrowski)
Fighters Network

Ruben Villa has signed a multi-fight promotional contract with Top Rank, the promotional company announced on Monday afternoon.

Villa will return to action and make his Top Rank debut, on May 13, in an eight-round bout against an opponent to be determined, at Stockton Arena, in Stockton, California. Villa’s fight will stream live on ESPN+, which will be part of the undercard of the Janibek Alimkhanuly-Steven Butler WBO middleweight title fight.

“Ruben Villa has everything it takes to become a world champion,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He’s a young, talented southpaw who has already tested himself at the sport’s highest level. His future is very bright.”

The 25-year-old Villa (19-1, 6 knockouts), who resides in nearby Salinas, fought Emanuel Navarrete for the vacant WBO featherweight title in October 2020. He was dropped twice early in the fight but lost a close unanimous decision. Villa rebounded from the loss to Navarrete on April 15 of last year, knocking out fringe contender Horacio Garcia in the ninth round.

Villa fought a handful of times on the popular “ShoBox” series, defeating Ruben Cervera and Luis Alberto Lopez, who currently holds the IBF featherweight title. He also has wins over Jose Enrique Vivas and Alexei Collado.

Ruben Villa (right) jab-stabs Alexei Collado to the body. Photo by Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

Ruben Villa (right) jab-stabs Alexei Collado to the body. Photo by Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

The 126-pound division is a very competitive one. Top Rank also promotes Lopez, newly-crowned WBO titleholder Robeisy Ramirez and Michael Conlan, who will challenge Lopez on May 27. Villa believes he is in the mix of the top fighters in the division.

“I have always dreamed of fighting on ESPN consistently and being with Top Rank to make the big fights,” said Villa. “I want to win a world title and to do it as soon as possible. I look forward to fighting in Stockton, where my hometown fans will be out in full force.”

All of Villa’s pro fights were previously under the Thompson Boxing Promotions banner. Rick Mirigian, who manages Villa, told The Ring, Monday evening, that he negotiated an exit deal with Thompson Boxing and a new deal with Top Rank.

In the release sent out by Top Rank on Monday, Mirigian is confident Villa will make noise in the division.

“Villa will be a world champion very soon,” said Mirigian. “This partnership was the perfect fit and we thank Top Rank for a tremendous deal for Ruben to prove he belongs with the top featherweights.”



Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.