Filipino flyweights Donnie Nietes, Brian Viloria relish chance to represent in Los Angeles
On February 24th, Donnie Nietes (left-most) and Brian Viloria (right-most) hope to leave The Forum in Los Angeles as world champions. (Photo courtesy of Steve Angeles on Twitter: @stevieangeles)
With just a little over two weeks to go before fight night, Filipino flyweights Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes and Brian ‘The Hawaiian Punch’ Viloria took time to field some questions in a joint media day in Los Angeles.
Murcia, Negros’ Nietes will be defending his IBF Flyweight World Championship for the first time against Argentina’s Juan Carlos Reveco.
Former four-time world champion and Fil-Hawaiian Viloria will be fighting unbeaten Ukrainian Artem Dalakian for the vacant WBA Flyweight World Championship.
Nietes and Viloria will both be fighting on 360 Promotions and HBO’s Superfly 2 card, and for the latter, it’s another chance to fight alongside a fellow Pinoy world champion.
“It’s always great, I’ve done it in the past with [Nonito] Donaire with [Manny] Pacquiao,” Viloria said, via ABS-CBN’s Steve Angeles. “It’s always great to have that camaraderie and have that, Filipino fans and the nation rooting behind you, especially with a card like this and the world title fights, it’s a great feeling.”
For three-division world champ Nietes, being able to train in the same ground as a boxing legend like Pacquiao is an honor in itself.
“Malaking opportunity sa aming mga boxer na Pinoy kasi dito din nagte-train si Manny, atsaka kami ang mga Pinoy na susunod sa kanya. Malaking pasasalamat na nabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na mag-training dito sa Wild Card.”
Already, Nietes is part of Filipino boxing history, being the longest-reigning Filipino world champion during his time at junior flyweight. Now, Nietes looks to even widen his reach and introduce himself to a bigger boxing fanbase, and his HBO debut is the perfect platform.
This won’t be his first time to fight in the US, but it will be his first dance in the historic Forum in Los Angeles.
“Masaya ako kasi siyempre, first time ko na lalaban dito sa US na all over the world ang makaka-kita.”
As for Viloria, worldwide popularity is already something that he’s had before. Now, for the 37-year old, it’s all about staying at the top of the game.
“I feel most alive when I’m in the ring, and when you feel that way, it doesn’t feel like work,” said the 17-year veteran. “That’s part of your life, and when you have that in your pocket you, don’t think about how long you’ve been doing it or how long I got left, you just try to take in every moment and every step of the way and just try to enjoy it as much as I can.”
Viloria and Nietes have been working together leading up to the fight, and the Fil-Hawaiian says that he relishes the chance to work with one of the the best homegrown Filipino boxers in history.
“It’s been an honor working with Donnie. I learn a lot just working with him, given at this stage 17-years, you don’t think you have a lot to learn left but when you work with world champions, you work with guys like Donnie, there is still a lot more to learn.”
On February 24th, Nietes and Viloria hope to leave The Forum in Los Angeles as world champions.