We've known for a few weeks now that the Nur-Sultan card on July 6th, as part of Capital City day in Kazakhstan, would feature WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11). At the time however his challenger was unknown.
Today the unknown became known, with Oubaali's opponent for the bout being confirmed as Filipino fighter Arthur Villanueva (32-3-1, 18), in what could end up being the last big chance for "King Arthur".
Oubaali will be defending his title for the first time since winning it earlier this year, when he beat Rau'shee Warren in Las Vegas over 12 rounds, and he will be strongly favoured here.
The talented French southpaw is a genuine talent, and he showed that not only in his win over Warren but also in a string of professional wins over the likes of Iran Diaz, Julio Cesar Miranda, Alejandro Hernandez and Mark Anhtony Geraldo, as well as in his time fighting as an amateur.
As for Villanuava, he was once tipped as a possible face of the Filipino fight scene, and was one of ALA's most promising fighters. He won his first 27 bouts in a row, though following a 2015 technical decision loss to McJoe Arroyo he has struggled to re-find his form, losing to the likes of Zolani Tete and Luis Nery, and battling to a raw with domestic foe Carlo Demecillo. Whilst there is nothing wrong losing to Arroyo, Tete and Nery it's hard to see how this bout goes a different way to those three, with Oubaali being a genuine world class fighter.
Although we don't think much of Villanueva's chances we can hardly complain about him taking a chance when offered, especially after this weekend's huge upset win for Andy Ruiz Jr against Anthony Joshua. Ruiz, like many before him, showed that the under-dog can win, and that should be driving Villanueva when he steps foot in the ring with the unbeaten Oubaali.
We here at Asianboxing.info are very sad to report that Filipino Olympic legend Anthony Villanueva has passed away aged 69.
Villanueva, best known for winning a silver medal at the 1964 Olympic in Tokyo, had been in ill health for a few years after suffering several heart attacks and sadly passed away earlier today.
Whilst Villanueva was well known for Olympic exploits and celebrated as a hero on his return home, he would later become a forgotten man. Sadly it was as a forgotten man that he and his family struggled with medical bills, bills that they simply couldn't continue to pay.
Thankfully some attention was brought to his plight more recently with several in the Filipino media reporting on the fallen fighter. By then however it was too late and Villanueva was, sadly, coming to his final days.
Many in the Philippines have blamed the Games and Amusements Board, the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee for the way they failed to help Villanueva who received a paltry pension from the state and had to pay for his own medical bills in his dying days.
We would like to send our best wishes to the Villanueva family and hope that the other forgotten sporting hero's of the Philippines will be given the attention and help they need in later life.
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