Interview with Brian Viloria: Brian of all trades
By John Pullman, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 10, 2009) Photo © John Pullman  
In April of this year Brian Viloria found himself a big underdog facing off against Ulises Solis. Brian resurrected his career that night, stopping Ulises in his tracks in the 11th round and became a World Champion once again. And then in August Brian successfully defended his title against Jesus Iribe. Now “The Hawaiian Punch” is set to jump back in the ring for the third time this year. He will be defending his IBF title for the second time against Omar Nino Romero. To say the least, Brain is very familiar with his upcoming opponent. Omar Nino Romero is 28-3-1 and has looked across the ring and seen Brain there twice already, and December 5th will be the third. The first fight ended in a unanimous decision victory for Romero, while the second ended in a draw and was later ruled a no contest after Romero failed the post fight drug test.

Brian is fully aware of what he is dealing with and will act accordingly. “It makes sense to go in there and be aggressive, that’s what I have been doing in the last couple fights. I know I am a lot faster than him and I know I am a lot more powerful. He just out-boxed me in the first fight. I thought I won the second fight, I dropped him twice and it ended up a draw. I am gonna take a look at what happened in the second fight, bring it with me, stay aggressive and at the same time show him a new look. I am a different fighter right now, than what I was 2 years ago,” states a confident Brian Viloria.

There are other exciting fights in the light flyweight division. One of them is another familiar face to Brian, Edgar Sosa. Brian lost a razor thin majority decision to Sosa 2 years ago for the vacant WBC light flyweight championship. Since then, Sosa has remained the WBC champ while coasting through what some would call limited opposition in his native Mexico. “I been trying to push for that rematch and another world title, but I think he is more content with fighting nobodies in Mexico,” says Viloria. “I think it is kinda unfortunate for us because I would like to unify titles and I would rather fight for a world title on neutral grounds.”

But Brian understands the task he has in front of him and is staying focused on Romero. He is more than excited to get this opportunity. “It’s a good fight for me to get a monkey off my shoulders. It will mean so much to me to win this fight in incredible fashion. When I first found out about this fight I wanted to jump right into training camp!”

So off to camp Brian heads. Since 2008 Brian has been doing his fight preparation in Oxnard, California under the watchful eye of Robert Garcia. Brian attributes a lot of his recent success to this move. “Training here in Oxnard has helped me a lot. The situation that I am in right now is maximizing my whole ability. It’s giving me a whole different outlook on how to prepare for each fight. I feel like I am learning new stuff. Just preparing myself the proper way is giving me a great deal of confidence knowing that I can last twelve rounds and still be strong.”

The constant stress of fighting can be taxing on the body, but all boxers know that it is even more taxing on the mind. All great fighters will tell you boxing is a way more mental sport than physical. Getting in the right frame of mind to put your well being on the line day in and day out for intense sparring in training camp can be stressful enough, not to mention the real fight that will take place in the near future. Brian, like all fighters, has to find ways to deal with this. Brian turns to music. “Playing music is my relaxation. I love music. When my training camp comes I focus on boxing but sometimes I need to reset myself a little bit and that is when music comes in and I play my guitar or my ukulele or the piano. They are just things that I’ve been doing ever since I was a kid. When I fought in the amateurs I was always putting music together.”

Brain is quite a musician. I had the pleasure of being in his presence when he put down his belt and broke out his guitar and ukulele. He even has quite the singing voice. After he was done on the ukulele, he jumped on a nearby piano and sung a few covers, quite impressive. But it doesn’t stop there, Brian also does some commentating for Bob Arum’s Pinoy Power boxing series. “I like to dabble in other things. I went to Michigan for broadcast journalism and that opened a lot of doors for me, so I tried to get into that a little bit.”

Would it be possible that one of these other loves could be a dual career for the IBF champ? “You never know. With me it’s always a surprise, sometimes I surprise myself,” says the champ. “There is a lot of things that I like doing. The thing is, with my character, when I try to do something, I try to be the best at it, I am such a competitive person.

To put it modestly, this “jack of all trades” has his options open whenever he decides to hang up the gloves. But for now, all of Brian’s other talents are going to have to remain as hobbies to keep him centered. “Right now my main priority is boxing. As much as I like to do other things, and to be successful in other things, I have to take care of what I have now, and that is boxing.”

We have all seen what the “Hawaiian Punch” can do when he is at his best. And right now, with a new found passion for the sport, a properly trained and mentally prepared Brian Viloria can only spell trouble for fighters of the light flyweight division.

Brain agrees, “Given my talents and my experience, plus we added a whole new dimension. I am ready for anything!”

Thanks to Brian for taking the time to speak with me.

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