Brian Viloria to face McJoe Arroyo on March 29 in Vegas

Ryan Songalia
Former two-division titleholder Brian Viloria will make his first ring appearance in nearly a year when he faces unbeaten Puerto Rican prospect McJoe Arroyo on March 29 in Las Vegas

VILORIA IS BACK. Former two-division world champion Brian Viloria will return on March 29 in Las Vegas. Photo by Ryan Songalia

MACAU – Former two-division titleholder Brian Viloria will make his first ring appearance in nearly a year when he faces unbeaten prospect McJoe Arroyo on March 29 at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

Viloria (32-4, 19 knockouts) of Waipahu, Hawaii hasn’t fought since losing his WBA/WBO flyweight titles last April in Macau on a split-decision against Juan Francisco Estrada. The 33-year-old 2000 Olympic bronze medalist has won titles at 108 pounds and 112 pounds, and was on the best run of his career prior to the Estrada upset.

Viloria had reeled off impressive victories over former champions Julio Cesar Miranda, Giovani Segura, Omar Nino and Hernan Marquez in a twelve month span in 2011-2012. The Marquez fight, which unified Viloria’s WBO belt with Marquez’s WBA title, was the first time the 112-pound titles had been unified since 1965.

Arroyo (13-0, 7 KOs) of Fajardo, Puerto Rico has also been inactive, having not fought since April as well. The 28-year-old southpaw is coming off an eight-round decision victory in Mexico over Jairo Hernandez in Mexico.

Arroyo is the twin brother of McWilliams Arroyo, who is also a flyweight prospect. Arroyo’s amateur career was highlighted by winning bantamweight bronze at the 2007 World Amateur Boxing Championships. 

The news was confirmed by promoter Bob Arum, whose company Top Rank will promote the event. Arum is in Macau promoting Saturday’s “Ring of Gold” event at the Venetian Resort, which will be headlined by three 2012 Olympic gold medalists Zou Shiming of China, Egor Mekhontsev of Russia and Ryota Murata of Japan.

Arum said that Viloria will then be back in action on May 31 at the Venetian Resort in Macau underneath fellow Filipino-American Nonito Donaire Jr.’s bout with IBF featherweight titleholder Simphiwe Vetyeka.

Ruben Gomez, who has been Viloria’s main assistant since he turned professional, says that Viloria had been waiting since last August for a fight, but that numerous dates had fallen through for various reasons.

“[Inactivity] is always a concern but Brian is a very healthy living guy, so he’s always active, always running, doing something,” said Gomez, who is in Macau with IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez for his defense against mandatory Denis Shafikov. “I got him back in the gym on January 11. In fact he did some work with Shiming, but since he didn’t have a fight, I didn’t want to go full blast. As soon as we got a date, about two weeks ago, now we can train for that target date.”

Gomez says that Viloria is back at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles training with Freddie Roach assistant Marvin Somodio. –

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at An archive of his work can be found at Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.

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