Recognizing his latest feat as the new Asia South Bantamweight champion of the World Boxing Association (WBA), the City Government of Bago honored one of its homegrown talents, Arthur Villanueva.
The 33-year-old boxer dubbed the “King” hails from Don Jorge L. Araneta in the southern Negros Occidental locality.
He defeated Thailand’s Jakpan Sangtong during the WBA Asia triple header held in Gilit City, Pakistan on June 11.
Joined by his wife, Jinny Mae, Villanueva was warmly welcomed by his fellow Bagonhons in a motorcade initiated by the city government yesterday morning.
“I am very overwhelmed by the support our kasimanwas have shown to me,” he said, adding that “this could be my toughest fight so far.”
Villanueva shared that aside from lack of sleep and rest due to long-distance travel, he was suffering from diarrhea during his latest fight.
“Good thing, I had enough preparation which helped me to surpass those challenges,” he said, adding that he dedicates his achievement to God, his family and to the country, especially to the city and his fellow Bagonhons.
Following the motorcade along the city’s major streets, the Bagoeño fighter was then welcomed by Mayor Nicholas Yulo at his office for a simple recognition rite.
The mayor presented to Villanueva the copy of the Sangguniang Panlungsod resolution congratulating him for making the city and country proud after winning the WBA Asia South Bantamweight title.
“By winning this fight, Arthur Villanueva has shown to the world the spirit of Bagonhon competitiveness and excellence,” the city council said in the resolution, adding that “this outstanding performance by our Bagonhon boxer deserves to be commended for the honor and recognition he has brought to our city.”
Villanueva also received P50,000 in cash incentives “for his outstanding feat, hard work and dedication worthy of emulation” from the city government.
“It’s a great honor to be given recognition by the city government,” Villanueva said, adding that this will further inspire him to continue improving his craft in order to bring more pride to the city.
For his part, Yulo said the city congratulates yet another son of Bago who has brought honor to the city, province and country.
“We continue to hope that this will inspire our young ones to emulate our athletes not only in boxing but also in other fields of sports,” he said.
The mayor believes that sports is one of the best programs for the youth as this helps them develop self- confidence, discipline and positive outlook in life.
“After more than two years of isolation and other quarantine restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bagonhons have maintained resilience. Our athletes, for instance, continue to hone their skills and eventually succeed in their respective fields,” Yulo added.
Villanueva, who was a former Asia-Pacific bantamweight champion of the World Boxing Organization and also an international super flyweight titlist of the World Boxing Council, is one of the recent boxing champions who have brought honors to Bago City.
On May 30, the city government also honored homegrown 31st Southeast Asian Games boxing medalists Rogen Ladon and James Palicte in a heroes’ welcome event.
Ladon, a 2016 Rio Olympics campaigner, won the gold in the flyweight division while Palicte took the bronze in the lightweight class.
Bago City is home to some of the country’s top boxers such as Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, a silver medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and brother Roel Velasco, who bagged a bronze medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.*