In 2017 we saw Kazuto Ioka firstly vacate the WBA Flyweight title and then retire all together. Today we finally saw that title find a new owner as Artem Dalakian (16-0, 11) out pointed Filipino-American veteran Brian Viloria (38-6-0-2, 23) in a real break out win to put himself on the boxing map.
The fight started well for Dalakian who looked the younger, fresher and hungrier fighter in the early going. He used his physical advantages well to box at range, and his faster feet allowed him to control the pace and distance of the fight, whilst Viloria looked to walk him down, though was far to slow for the most part to cut the distance. After the first few rounds it began to look like Viloria only had one chance to win, and that was landing a hayemaker to stop the Azeri-born Ukrainian.
Sadly for Viloria he seemed unable to pull the trigger, even when Dalakian was there to be hit. The unbeaten man, mostly fighting with his hands down, did give Viloria chances, but there was veyer few times that he managed to land anything of note. In fact the only real time that Dalakian was in any danger was in round 7, when Viloria landed a brutal right hand that visible shook Dalakian. To his credit the Ukrainian fighter held, spoiled and got through the round, though he deserves to be applauded for not going down from the best punch of the fight.
Dalakian was back in control the following round, though deducted a point in round 9 for pushing down on the head of Viloria, which he had been warned about several times. The original warning seemed to give Viloria the idea of trying to get a point taken from Dalakian by leading with his head, and the referee bought it, though it was only a small respite for Viloria who clearly lost the round and was well behind by that point.
The next real talking point came in round 11, when an accidental elbow caught Viloria in the center of his forehead, and left him with a real bleeder. It wasn't long until Viloria's face was a crimson mask, and Dalakian was hunting a stoppage. It was great round for Dalakian, even if the cut was caused by an accident. The Filipino's chin impressed however and he managed to see out the final couple of rounds.
Despite lasting the distance Viloria was clearly beaten, with all 3 judges scoring it 118-109 in favour of Dalakian. For Viloria the bout really seemed to show how far gone he is, and it's probably time he retires. For Dalakian however the win sets up some interesting fights, including a possible unification with WBC champion Daigo Higa.
Boxing's “pound for pound” list may be one of the sports most controversial yet pointless subjects but for us it's hard to view any fighter as being more complete than Roman Gonzalez (44-0, 38) we successfully retained his WBC Flyweight crown in New York with an excellent win against Filipino-America Brian Viloria (36-5-0-2, 22).
The fight started with Viloria setting the early pace and for the first 30 seconds it was Viloria coming forward, forcing Gonzalez backwards and landing several shots, including a notable body shot. It seemed as if Viloria knew his best shot was to jump on Gonzalez before the Nicaraguan got settled. By the end of the round however Gonzalez had taken the center ring and it was looking like he had began to settle.
Viloria's confidence was still fully there in round 2 as he more than held his own in a very competitive and close round. The challenger managed to land a number of solid shots and appeared to be targeting the body of Gonzalez however it did, again, seem that Gonzalez warmed to the task before the round was over and by the end of the round it seemed like Gonzalez was starting to force his fight.
Gonzalez's momentum grew in round 3 as he quickly dropped Viloria with a short right hand. Viloria recovered his feet but had a torrid time in the remainder of the round as Gonzalez reeled off some vicious combinations, landing some spiteful shots to both the head and body and showed the offensive prowess that has made him such a must watch fighter.
Viloria, much to his credit, saw out the third round and managed to have some success of his own but was on the receiving end of real punishment again in round 4 as we saw what high skilled offensive boxing is all about, from both men. Viloria, whilst not embarrassing himself, was being figured out by Gonzalez who was looking in control of the ring, despite big shots being landed from Viloria.
Round 5 was one of the worst rounds for Viloria who looked very much out of his depth for a round though showed his toughness to see out the storm and came back himself in rounds 6 and 7 as the action returned to being competitive, yet easy to score for Gonzalez. It seemed that whilst Viloria was having success, he was being forced to take some really solid combinations that over-shadowed his own success.
The pace was slowing down in round 8 yet both both men stayed in close quarters, landing shots up close. Sadly for Viloria he was being comfortably out landed by Gonzalez who was reeling off combinations as and when he wanted to turn up the pace. Viloria tried to stem the tide but he had little answer to Gonzalez's accuracy, timing and sensational output.
Before the start of round 9 the doctor had a word with Viloria, it wasn't a serious one and it never seemed like the doctor was going to stop the fight but it did delay the start of the round. Despite the delayed start the round started well for Gonzalez though a body shot part way through seemed to hurt the Nicaraguan who took about 20 seconds to recover himself. When he did recover he decided to punish Viloria with another devastating combination that rocked Viloria who was quickly saved by the referee. The stoppage may have been slightly early but it did appear to be a fair one, especially given the way that Viloria was helped to corner.
The win was another excellent one for Gonzalez. It wasn't punch perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it was another high quality win to add to his already impressive resume. For Viloria the bout may be his last at the top level however it was a great from the challenger.
Now attention for Gonzalez may well turn to the proposed super fight with Naoya Inoue, in 2016, or perhaps a bout with another of the champions, at either 112lbs or 115lbs. Bouts between Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, Amnat Ruenroeng, Kohei Kono or Carlos Cuadras would all have major appeal, especially with HBO backing Gonzalez like they are doing.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.