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The “Island Assault 4: The Battle” pay-per-view-event, featuring a trilogy showdown between three-time world champion Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria (30-3, 16 KOs) and former two-time world champion Omar Nino Romero (30-42, 12 KOs), has been rescheduled from its original March 31 date to Saturday night, May 12, live from Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Viloria will defend his World Boxing Organization (“WBO”) title belt against Romero in the 12-round main event. Viloria was a 2000 U.S. Olympian who won his first 20 pro fights, until he lost the World Boxing Council (“WBC”) light flyweight championship to Romero by way of a 12-round unanimous decision in 2006. Three months later, their rematch ended in a draw and was later changed to a “no contest” when Romero failed the post-fight drug test.
The completion of the Viloria-Romero trilogy will have to wait a little longer as the Nevada State Athletic Commission prevented the WBO from sanctioning the fight due to unpaid penalties on Romero’s part. From 2006, Romero has amassed a total of $11,500 in penalties which he needs to pay before the fight is sanctioned.
The fight will now be held May 12 and will still be staged at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
MANILA, Philippines – WBO flyweight titleholder Brian Viloria’s bout against old nemesis Omar Nino Romero that was originally scheduled for March 31 has been pushed back to April 21 after issues arose with the WBO’s sanctioning of the fight, according to Viloria’s manager Gary Gittelsohn.
The WBO issued a release on Thursday stating that the bout was “pending sanction” due to a $11,250 disciplinary fine Nino owes the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for his 2006 positive test for methamphetamine following his second bout with Viloria. Nino was subsequently stripped of the WBC light flyweight title he had won from Viloria three months prior.
“We decided to give Niño time to clean up his mess,” Gittelsohn told THE RING. “Once Nevada acknowledges receipt of the long overdue payment, the WBO will sanction the fight.”
Nino has not fought in America since then but challenged for the WBC light flyweight title again in 2010, defeating incumbent titleholder Rodel Mayol in their second meeting to regain the belt.
Nino was rated no. 8 by the WBO’s most recent rankings at flyweight.
The bout will still take place at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Philippines. Rumors of the postponement were originally reported by Dennis Guillermo, which were later confirmed.
It will be the third meeting between Viloria and Omar Nino Romero with the first two fights ending in controversy.
In their first clash on August 10, 2006, Nino won a questionable lopsided twelve round decision at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in a WBC light flyweight title fight, while in the rematch on November 18, 2006 Nino retained his title in a draw. However, because the Mexican tested positive for a banned substance the fight was declared a no-contest.
Viloria faced Edgar Sosa for the vacant title and dropped another controversial majority decision on April 14, 2007, but came back with a string of five wins before taking on highly fancied Ulises Solis, another Mexican, for the IBF light flyweight title at the famed Araneta Coliseum on April 19, 2009.
Viloria scored a spectacular 11th round knockout and was once again embraced by Filipino fans who had been disappointed with his showing against Omar Nino Romero.
Viloria successfully defended his title against Jesus Iribe at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu on August 29, 2009 but lost by a 12th round TKO to Panama’s Carlos Tamara on Jnauary 23, 2010 when he was overcome by fatigue with 75 seconds remaining in a fight where Viloria was well ahead on the scorecards of all three judges.
Realizing that his struggle to make the 108 pound limit was taking its toll, Viloria decided to move up to the flyweight limit and won the title with an impressive twelve round decision over Julio Cesar “Pingo” Miranda on July 16, 2011 in Honolulu.
His first defense is regarded as Viloria’s finest ring performance. He battered and bewildered pound for pound No. 9 and heavily favored Mexican KO artist Giovanni Segura with a clinical but power-packed performance to score a sensational 8th round TKO at the Ynares Sports Center on December 11, 2011.
Viloria’s manager Gary Gittelsohn who has treated the fighter like a son told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that he was “putting the finishing touches” to the title defense against Nino.
He said Viloria “is very excited to return to Manila and we look forward to a great fight.”
Gittelsohn said that since winning his second world title and his third belt Viloria “is finally the fighter we all knew he would become” adding that this year they are “looking forward to the big match-ups – Roman Gonzalez, Hernan “Tyson” Marquez etc.”
The likeable manager stressed he would “do everything possible to draw attention to these ‘little giants’. The new programming teams at Showtime and HBO Sports are very savvy guys and I suspect they will open their airwaves to showcase them.”
Having fought Segura in a mandatory, Viloria chose Omar Nino Romero for a voluntary defense and possibly for a chance to settle the score with the Mexican once and for all.
The 31 year old Viloria has a record of 30-3 with 17 knockouts while Omar Nino Romero is 35 and has a record of 30-4-2 with 12 knockouts that includes a victory over former WBC world flyweight champion Rode Mayol on June 19, 2010. However, in his last fight for the WBC light flyweight title Romero lost by a twelve round majority decision to Gilbert Keb Baas on November 6, 2010.
by Ronnie Nathanielsz