Home Boxing News Roiman Villa scores two final round knockdowns to hand Rashidi Ellis his...

Roiman Villa scores two final round knockdowns to hand Rashidi Ellis his first defeat

Roiman Villa lands on Rashidi Ellis. Photo credit: Getty Images

Welterweight contender Roiman ‘Flaco de Oro’ Villa 26-1 (24) proved the doubters wrong with a 12-round majority decision victory over highly favoured Rashidi ‘Speedy’ Ellis 24-1 (15) at the Capital One Arena in Washington DC on Saturday night.

The fight, which was billed as an IBF eliminator between number eight Ellis and number nine Villa, was featured on the undercard of the Showtime pay-per-view headlined by by WBA ‘regular’ lightweight titleholder Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis 27-0 (25) versus WBA super featherweight champion Hector Luis Garcia 16-0 (10).

The 29-year-old Villa, who hails from Rosario, Venezuela, but holds Colombian citizenship, made his US debut when he gave Janelson Figueroa Bocachica 17-1-1 (11) his first loss via eight round unanimous decision at Bally’s Event Centre in New Jersey, New York last September, but this was his first time appearing on such a high profile card.

Ellis, 29, of Lynn, Massachusetts, got off to a flyer, using his speed, movement and a busy and largely effective jab to control most of the first six rounds, often followed by a sneaky right cross.

The tide gradually started to turn in the seventh and eighth and by the ninth frame, his forward pressure and power was beginning to take its toll on Ellis, who was far less agile than he was earlier in the bout. Body shots contributed to this, allowing Villa to land hard shots to the head, often in combination.

Villa continued his good work in the 10th as he crowded Ellis in an effort to overwhelm him. The 11th frame saw Ellis make his last stand, but it was still not enough to see him claim the round.

Villa’s corner told him before the start of the final round that he needed a knockout to win. He understood the instructions and went in for the kill. Midway through the round he nailed Ellis with a left hook that sent him to the canvas.

The knockdown buoyed Villa’s spirits as he stalked the wounded Ellis around the ring, but as the clock ticked down it appeared he may have punched himself out. In one last effort in the dying seconds of the round, Villa landed a left hook, right hand combination that sent him stumbling into the ropes for another knockdown.

With just one second left on the clock, referee Brent Bovell administered the count.

It was enough for Villa to secure the victory by scores of 114-112, 114-112 and 113-113.

The judges were largely in agreement about the fight. All three scored the first five rounds for Ellis and the last four rounds for Villa.

Before the fight Villa promised to wipe the smile off Ellis’ face.

“Talk is cheap. Whatever he wants to say, he’s entitled to it. But I’m all about coming here to do my job and give the fans the show that they want to see. You’ll see the action in the ring on Saturday night,” Villa said.

“I’m no fortune teller. I’m just going to control what I can control and let it be what it may be. I’m 100% ready for this fight.

“I’m confident in my training. I’m much more prepared this time than I was for my last victory, so my belief is sky high. If Ellis is underestimating me, he’s going to be in trouble.

“I come here to represent not just my country, but the whole Latin community. We’re here to make them proud and that’s what we’re going to do on Saturday night.

“I studied in school, I’m not here to study anybody. I’m going to come after him and be aggressive. No matter what happens, I’m going to be myself.

“I want to stay humble, but I want to see if that smile that he’s got on his face right now will remain after Saturday night.”