Former Colombian Olympian Cesar Villarraga (5-0, 3 KOs), winner of the 2010 South American Games, matches up against lightweight Eduardo Rivera (9-1-2, 3 KOs) of Mexico in a 6-round scrap on a loaded undercard on Thompson Boxing Promotions “Path to Glory.”
Villarraga starred for Colombia at the 2010 South American Games going through Hector Manzanilla (Venezuela) and Erick Banguera (Ecuador) to advance to the gold medal match against Everton Lopes of Brazil. Villarraga would bring home the gold in the 57kg event and would later qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. In London, Villarraga would lose to Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias. Rather than sulk in defeat, Villarraga turned the loss into a learning experience.
“The London games made me even more dedicated to the sport,” said, Villarraga, who started boxing at age 15, a late start partly attributed to his early love of soccer. “Mentally I now know how to handle situations more efficiently. I have learned to value every movement, any shuffle of the feet – every punch has its purpose.”
Since turning professional two years ago, Villarraga has displayed all the traits required to transition from prospect to contender. The southpaw is fast, aggressive, and wears down opponents with his boxing skills. Last year he polished off four impressive wins, two by way of knockout.
“Cesar has an exciting style to his game,” said Ken Thompson, president and founder of Thompson Boxing Promotions. “He is a quick hitter that does not like to stand around and dance. He has great speed and a high boxing IQ.”
“I look forward to stepping up in opposition this year,” Villarraga said. “Eduardo Rivera has the edge in experience and he is a boxer that likes to pressure you, but I know what I need to do to keep my winning streak going.”
Villarraga hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow countryman and Thompson Boxing Promotions stablemate, Darleys Perez (32-1, 20 KOs), who is the current WBA interim lightweight world champion.
“Every boxer in Colombia follows the career of Darleys Perez,” said the 29-year-old Villarraga, who is co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and Thompson Boxing. “I have high aspirations. I want to be the first would champion from Bogota and the best to come from Colombia.”
Villarraga had an amateur record of 250 wins against 30 loses. He is married and has two boys.