The K2 Promotions card on Sept. 9 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, is already jam-packed with five of the world’s top junior bantamweights, but it got even stronger this week with the addition of Brian Viloria, a former flyweight and junior flyweight world titleholder who is moving up in weight.
Viloria will take on an opponent to be determined in an eight-round fight as he eyes his second win this year after he took 2016 off following a ninth-round knockout loss to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in a flyweight world title fight in October 2015.
“I’m very excited to be on this important card,” Viloria said. “I haven’t missed a day of roadwork, and I’ve been putting in the hours at the Wild Card [gym] so that I can give my hometown fans in Los Angeles what they always expect of me — my very best. I’m refreshed and strong, and nothing’s going to stand in my way of winning another world title.”
Viloria (37-5, 22 KOs), 36, originally from Hawaii and known as the “Hawaiian Punch,” has won four world title belts and has been one of the stalwarts of boxing’s smaller weight divisions since he turned pro after his stint on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team. Two fights after Gonzalez defeated Viloria, he moved up to junior bantamweight to win the title from Carlos Cuadras and then lost it in a bloody slugfest to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on March 18.
The rematch between Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KOs) and Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) headlines the card (HBO, 10:15 p.m. ET/PT). In the co-feature, junior bantamweight titlist and Japanese star Naoya “Monster” Inoue (13-0, 11 KOs) will make his American debut in a showcase fight against Cleveland’s Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9 KOs).
Cuadras (36-1-1, 27 KOs), of Mexico, will meet countryman and former unified flyweight world titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2, 25 KOs) in a world title eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for the main event winner in the opener.
Viloria’s bout won’t be part of the HBO telecast, but a good performance could set him up for a fight with one of the winners of the televised bouts.
“The little giants of boxing are finally getting the showcase they deserve,” said Gary Gittelsohn, Viloria’s career-long manager. “For my money, these weight classes are the most talent-laden in boxing, and this card is presenting the very cream of the crop. Brian has distinguished himself as one of the most explosive and exciting fighters in the world. He has a lot to prove on this card, and I’ve never seen him more eager to impress. Personally, I can’t wait.”
K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler promoted Viloria’s fight with Gonzalez and is happy to have him on another card.
“We’re honored to add longtime fan favorite Brian Viloria to this tremendous card,” Loeffler said. “For many years, he’s been one of the very best fighters in the junior flyweight and flyweight divisions, and those in attendance on fight night will see one of the true warriors in boxing.”