Prized prospect Ruben Villa (11-0, 4 KOs) continued his upward trajectory by thoroughly dismantling Marlon Olea (13-3, 12 KOs) to win the vacant WBO Youth Featherweight Title Saturday night from his hometown of Salinas, Calif.
Villa, just days before his twenty-first birthday, headlined his first event and won his first title in front of a raucous home crowd. The southpaw delivered an impressive performance, winning every round on all three scorecards (80-72 x3).
“It’s exactly how I wanted to end this night,” said Villa, who is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing. “I blocked out the crowd and just did what I had to do. Olea moves around a lot, but I was able to land whatever I wanted.”
After a feeling out first round, Villa turned up the heat in the second. Both hands began to split Olea’s guard, which became a constant theme throughout the 8-round title fight.
As in his other fights, Villa consistently landed a seldom used punch by most boxers, a stiff jab to the midsection that neutralized the Colombian’s attack.
In the third round, a “Ruben” chant broke out in the Salinas Storm House, just as the former back-to-back Golden Gloves champion started to land heavy combinations. Villa, who is managed by Danny Zamora, thrilled the sold-out crowd with his aggressive punching.
“I thought Ruben had a terrific performance on Saturday,” said Artie Pelullo, president of Banner Promotions. “It was a great night for him to perform in front of his hometown fans, and capture his 1st title. This is the 1st of many titles in Ruben’s future, and by the way, the fans turned out for him. I see Salinas being the home of many more fights for Ruben.”
“Ruben put an exclamation point on what turned out to be a fantastic event,” said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Boxing. “It’s the best I’ve seen him fight since he turned professional. He showed the skill and confidence of a veteran, yet he’s barely turning 21. The sky is the limit for Ruben.”