Roiman Villa (left) put the first blemish on Rashidi Ellis’ record with an upset majority decision. (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime)
Underrated power-puncher Roiman Villa upset touted welterweight prospect Rashidi Ellis on the undercard of Gervonta Davis-Hector Luis Garcia on January 7.
Villa, who was entering the fight having beaten the favored Janelson Figueroa Bocachica last September, overcame Ellis’s speed early to claw back the deficit and score two knockdowns in the final round to win a 12-round majority decision.
“I knew my pressure would tire him out,” Villa (26-1, 24 knockouts) told The Ring through manager Alejandro Torres. “I was patient and confident that in the second half of the fight I would bring him down.
“I noticed that he was exhausted, so I went all in to finish strong in order to win the fight.”
The victory puts the 29-year-old Venezuelan, who now lives and trains in Los Angeles under the watchful eye of trainer Rene Ordorica, in a strong position in the talented 147-pound division.
“It is the most significant win in my career,” he admitted. “Ellis was a strong rival, and now I am ready to take on the big fights.
“I am the kind of old-school fighter who wants the big fights and doesn’t duck any fighter, like Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. I trust my promoter Sampson [Lewkowicz] and my manager Alejandro Torres that they will make the best opportunity for me in the next fight.”
Torres has known Villa since 2017, after helping the fighter through what was described as a difficult situation in Venezuela.
Over that time, a mutual bond and belief has grown between the two. Torres has witnessed his fighter grow while fighting in Latin America and was confident that when the opportunity arose on the bigger stage that his fighter would grasp it with both hands.
“Roiman has overcome two welterweight prospects with short notice,” said Torres. “In both camps he was not able to work and develop his real power due to different circumstances. For the next fight, he will have enough time to bring up his real power into the fight. I know that he has all the power to KO any fighter in full condition.
“I trust completely that his talent is ready not only to upset some big fighters but it is destined to make history in the sport of boxing.”
Lewkowicz, who helped discover Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez and also currently works with two-time super middleweight titlist David Benavidez, may have unearthed himself another diamond in the rough.
The veteran promoter, who works closely with PBC, is keen for his fighter to fight for the world title even if that means facing one of the rising superstars of the sport.
“We went through an eliminator and we expect to face either the champion [Errol Spence Jr.] or for the vacant title,” said Lewkowicz. “If it’s [IBF interim titlist Jaron] Ennis, then we will be a real challenge for him. Ennis doesn’t need to look for any other opponent.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].