Ruben Villa headlines ShoBox on Friday night

Salinas’ WBO youth featherweight champion Ruben Villa (15-0 5KOs) will face his toughest test thus far in his career facing Luis Alberto Lopez (17-1 8KOs) on Friday, May 10th, from the Omega Products International in Corona, California.

Villa, one of the best American amateurs over the past decade winning all you can win in that realm, but found himself coming up second to Shakur Stevenson in the Olympic Trials in 2015, which lead to Villa turning pro with Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions. Villa is currently 2-2 with Shakur Stevenson from his amateur days.

That being said, Villa has faced a plethora of experienced opponent in his fifteen fight professional career, but Lopez will be his second fight with an extremely competitive a-side type of guy looking across the ring against him. In fact, according to BET365, Villa was the underdog according to their website when they posted the odds on Sunday night, which seemed somewhat strange.

Lopez is the most physical fighter Villa has faced to date and Lopez just got a technical decision over Ray Ximenez, a one-loss fighter, to win the WBO international featherweight championship, despite what you may think about belts, that means he brings a level of world-class competition. Lopez’s lone loss is to surging now super featherweight Abraham Montoya, who has a similar style and even that was a split decision.

In short, Lopez is more tested in the professional game and more than likely going to look to walk Villa down, but beyond that, it seems Villa has every stylistic advantage.

This will be Villa’s second time fighting on ShoBox, his last bout was the co-main event from Shreveport, Louisiana, with this being his first televised main event.

For this bout, Villa and his team of trainer Max Garcia as well as assistant coach and chef Sam Garcia (Max’s son), moved the camp to Riverside, California and trained out of Robert Garcia’s Boxing Academy to get world-class sparring. Being located in the southernmost part of Northern California, known for a lot of pure boxers, getting good sparring for a pure pressure fighter, would be unrealistic, let alone possibly impossible in Salinas, Ca. Not to mention, that Northern California is limited in terms of how many elite, world-class fighters we have and the distance it takes to get to those fighters, and how cost effective it would be in the $4.00-a gallon gas era, Californians are currently living in?

Villa, a personal favorite of mine, is a boxer-puncher, with more of emphasis on movement, angles and keeping fighters off balance, but has solid power and a good work ethic that allows him to push a solid pace.

Villa faces his toughest test of Lopez, this Friday in the Southern California town of Corona, California, which will be broadcast worldwide as a part of ShoBox: The Next Generation, check your local listings for exact time.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle