In a battle of undefeated Rubens, former decorated amateur Ruben Villa (15-0, 5 KOs) handed Colombian Ruben Cervera (10-1, 9 KOs) his first career defeat scoring a dominating unanimous decision, 80-72 on all three scorecards in the eight-round featherweight co-feature bout.
The bout took place as the co-feature on ShoBox: The New Generation, and LIVE on SHOWTIME® from StageWorks of Shreveport, Louisiana
The 21-year-old two-time Junior Olympic National Champion and the 2014 and 2015 National Golden Gloves Champion from Salinas, Calif., Villa outworked and outperformed the slower but determined Cervera en route to a decisive decision victory.
“It felt good fighting on the big stage and I got the victory against a very tough undefeated fighter,” the one-time Olympic alternate Villa said. “I felt I controlled the entire fight with my superior boxing skills. I’m ready to step up to the next level. I’m taking on all comers no matter who they are, I feel I’m the best featherweight in the world.”
In the sixth round, Villa got to work featuring a strong right hand and following up with jabs and combinations that seemed to buzz Cevera, who was out-landed on punches in the round 35-5.
The jab was the key weapon for Villa as he led 105-23 in connects as well as holding a 36 percent to eight percent advantage in jab accuracy. Villa exceeded double-digits in jabs in every round but the first.
The lefty Villa, who is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing, said visiting Riverside, California to spar top fighters has helped his game. “I’ll give myself an 8 or 9 tonight,” he said. “I believe in my speed. I know there are guys like [Abner] Mares and [Leo] Santa Cruz who people know, but visiting Riverside let me see I can step in there with anyone.”
Cevera became the 182nd career fighter to lose his undefeated record on ShoBox. “I knew Ruben Villa was a very fast fighter because I saw some video of him, but I didn’t know he was that fast,” Cervera said. “He’s much faster when you see him inside the ring. I tried everything I could but my distance was off. I was able to hit them with a couple of combinations and he probably felt my power. I don’t disagree with the judges’ decision, he was the better man tonight.”
Unbeaten featherweight prospect Ruben Villa (14-0, 5 KOs) makes his national television debut this Friday night in a co-featured fight of a ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader.
The eight-round bout takes place from StageWorks of Louisiana in the southern U.S. city of Shreveport. Coverage airs live on SHOWTIME beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Villa, a southpaw who turned 21 late last year, faces Colombian Ruben Cervera (10-0, 9 KOS), who will be stepping up from super bantamweight to fight the former two-time Golden Gloves winner from Salinas, Calif.
The pair weighed in successfully during Thursday’s weigh in at the Margaritaville Resort Casino.
FINAL WEIGHTS, REFEREES AND JUDGES
Featherweight 8-Round Bout
Ruben Villa – 126 ¾ lbs.
Ruben Cervera – 126 ½ lbs.
(Contracted weight is 128 pounds)
Referee: Laurence Cole (Dallas); Judges: Bruce McDaniel (Monroe, La.), Pat Dayton (Monroe, La.), Mickey Lofton (Monroe, La.)
“This is exciting and what we’ve been working toward. The contracted weight is 128 for this fight, but I’m a natural featherweight at 126. I’m a southpaw but a natural righty. I throw a lot of jabs, that’s my style.
“I’m representing Salinas and want to be a world champion someday. I’m only 21 years old, and to already be fighting on ShoBox is a dream come true.
“People say I don’t have the knockouts, but it’s in my mind and they will come. The power and knockouts will come.
“I once beat Devin [Haney] by unanimous decision in the amateurs. I was 15, and it was in the finals of the Junior Olympics. Devin’s real slick and aggressive and he moves well. That’s how you beat him.”
Villa is promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions.
“I’ve never been to the U.S., and I love it here. The press conference and the amount of attention this fight is getting is amazing. I’m used to watching this kind of stuff on T.V. But my mind is totally focused on this fight.
“I have power in all my punches. I’m a strong fighter who has to take a step up in my career. I’m young, only 20 years old, so I’m anxious to get my career going.
“I know Villa is a southpaw. I’ve fought lefties several times in my career and have had no problem with it.
“There is a lot of talent in Colombia, but there aren’t the resources there to have a good career. You have to sacrifice a lot and that’s what I’ve done.”
The event is promoted by Devin Haney Promotions and Bishop Promotions LLC, in association with Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing. Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale now and available at www.akafights.com.