“KING” Arthur Villanueva plans to set up training camp in Cebu for his ring return this year.
“I plan to travel to Cebu and train there,” the 31-year-old told SunStar Cebu.
Villanueva hung up his gloves in 2019 after losing to World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali on July 6, 2019 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. He felt that it was time to quit because of a recurring injury on his hand and a cyst on his left eyebrow that had to be operated on.
Following his retirement, Villanueva put up a café, Café Boxidor, in his hometown of Bago City, Negros. However, his retirement was short-lived after he received an offer from Slovenian manager Hinko Kostanvejec, which he gladly accepted in 2020.
“Nothing is definite yet. However, my manager is working on a possible fight in March,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva is slowly returning to his fighting form, training in the gym of his close friend and former fighter Reman Salim. He hopes to set up camp at the Omega Boxing Gym, which is the home of a lot of talented boxers, the likes of Mark Vicelles and Christian Araneta.
“I still don’t know where I will be training in Cebu. Maybe at IPI (Omega Boxing Gym),” he said.
Villanueva hopes to fight three fights this year and move up in the world rankings. Once ranked in the top 10, Villanueva is still currently rated No. 24 in the WBC.
Villanueva has fought for a world title three times in his 12-year boxing career. He first vied for a world title in 2015 and lost via a technical decision against McJoe Arroyo for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight belt in El Paso, Texas. Two years later, he challenged Zolani Tete for the interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight strap and lost by unanimous decision.
He once again fought for a world title against Oubaali and lost via a sixth round stoppage in 2019.
Villanueva is 32-4-1 with 18 knockouts.