Tahiti boxing accident a cruel reminder of the risk sports people take; Viloria-Nino on 5/13

Chairman of the newly established Pacific Rim Boxing Championship (PRBC), Mr. Edwin Puni is calling for all boxing fraternities in the region to take the safety and welfare of boxers seriously.

The call comes following the tragic death of New Zealand boxer Willman Rodriques as a result of his bout in Tahiti.

Mr. Puni however is quick to brush aside any blame on Rodriques, his trainer Eugene, match making and Tahiti officials.

“This is a risk that all sports people take, not just boxing. I’m comfortable with the information that I’ve received to date that Rodriques was in good physical form and this was not a mismatch.”

In a letter to Mr. Bayard Gobrait, President of the Polynesia Professional Boxing League, Mr. Puni wrote, “First let me extend my support to the boxing fraternity in Tahiti whom no doubt are affected by this unfortunate accident.”

The unfortunate accident has affected many in the New Zealand boxing scene like respected veteran trainer Lolo Heimuli, “What intended to be a trip of a lifetime to the beautiful Island of Tahiti, while broaden fight experience, became a horror story to the family, friends and gym mates of Wilman Rodriquez. He was tragically punched during the first 30 seconds of the first round and died on his way to the hospital.”

Lolo Heimuli also comes in defense of William’s trainer Eugene, “Understandably he said he is quitting the fight games altogether. I don’t blame him for feeling this way. But I hope he won’t because there are lots of young (and old) under qualified coaches out there who would put young fighters more at risk.”

“Willman is one of the toughest I have ever seen. When the promoter’s message was passed on to Eugene to look for a 60kg fighter, Willman’s name was the first I thought about although they have other 60kg fighter at City Kickboxing.”

PRBC Chairman Mr. Edwin Puni confirms that boxer safety and welfare will be part of the agenda when the Executive meets in Samoa later this month.

Viloria vs. Nino on 5/13

By Reni M. Valenzuela: The skillful boxer named Brian Viloria should run hard through something tougher than techniques which would make him more of a fighter than a boxer.

Without having to lose his kung-fu instinct, the Filipino blood Hawaiian Punch must hold nothing back if he intends to produce an outcome that could be east and west apart better than his two previous bouts versus the same challenger who once defeated him and against whom he would defend his championship belt for the second chance, but in a higher division, on Sunday morning (Manila time).

Omar Nino Romero of Mexico, a former two-time world champion, has what it takes to succumb to a brave Viloria, just as Viloria has it in his arsenal to turn the tide anytime in his favor if he keeps fighting on his toes and bravely on the trot offensively.

Viloria is typically a cautious boxer that waits in line to take his turn. But let him shake, rattle and roll to fight like a fighter who’s not afraid to lose his title as the reigning WBO Flyweight Champion. His focus ought to be on his opponent, not on the belt. Titles and belts don’t mean much to a boxer whose passion is to fight, whose resolve is to believe and whose only option is to exert his utmost in order to conquer, win or lose.
Sometimes it is in losing rather than in winning that athletes get to exhilarate and uplift hearts. A case in point is what we have witnessed in last week’s ring war between two sets of gladiators where Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, “the losers,” captivated the audience over and above the highly rated winners Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez. Loud chants kept pouring in for Cotto during the fight, while Mosley got standing ovation after the final bell rang.

The Hawaiian Punch often exudes with exaggerated confidence during pre-fight interviews, yet he seldom match his words with what he does in the ring during the actual fight.

“I really want to prove, not only to myself but to everybody else that Nino is not up to my caliber,” exults Viloria. Anything like that said by any boxer is not boasting if he can prove every bit of substance it requires inside the ring. Or the words can prove to be merely junk potatoes that the boxer is required to eat later outside the ropes.

Looking up, Viloria got a nearly perfect score as a rising star in his bout last December against Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound awardee, Giovanni Segura. It is one of the rare bold instances in his career as a boxer from the time he competed as a fighter in the 2000 Sydney Olympic for which he defeated his fellow Filipino-American, now four-division world champion and current WBO Super Bantamweight Champion, Nonito Donaire in the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Qualifier.

But can the Hawaiian Punch be able to revive and sustain the “momentum”?
Viloria enjoys binding himself with words as in his recent pronouncement: “I’m just going to fight like it’s my last.” Let’s see.

My wife bought me a ticket for the Island Assault Viloria-Romero III at the Ynares Sports Arena here in the Philippines. So I would be witnessing an actual professional boxing event for the first time, and at close range, in the ringside.

Will I be watching a brave man on Sunday, Brian?
Or will I go home inspired?

Article posted on 10.05.2012

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