Brian Viloria takes WBO flyweight belt

HONOLULU -- Brian Viloria won a unanimous decision over Mexico's Julio Cesar Miranda on Saturday night to win the WBO flyweight championship.

Viloria, known as "The Hawaiian Punch," jumped and pumped his fist in the air when he was announced the new world champion. The former Olympian was in tears as his father gave him a bearhug and proudly lifted his son in the air as the crowd roared.

The 30-year-old Viloria controlled the fight from the start, flooring Miranda in the opening minutes and landing body blow after body blow throughout the fight.

"I started off quick and I think Miranda got caught by surprise. But like a champion he came back," Viloria said. "I give him a lot of credit. He fought his heart out and I also fought my heart out because I really wanted this."

Viloria, who grew up about a half-hour west of Honolulu in a blue-collar, former sugar-plantation town of Waipahu, was badly bloodied but walked away with the belt.

Judges Robert Hoyle (98-91) Ruben Garcia (96-93) and Tamotsu Tomihara (97-93) favored Viloria (29-3, 16 KOs), who claimed his first title at 112 pounds. He previously held the IBF and WBC light flyweight titles at 108 pounds.

The 31-year-old Miranda (28-4, 16 KOs) was making his fourth title defense since beat Richie Mepranum to win the title in June 2010.

The Mexican had won his last five fights by knockout with none of the contests going beyond eight rounds. His last fight was a fourth-round TKO over Arden Diale in February.

Miranda struggled to make 112 pounds, taking a couple hours to shed two pounds at the weigh-in Friday in Waikiki. He said the long flight and having to cut weight affected him.

"It was a tough fight. Very difficult," Miranda said.

When asked if he was surprised by the judges scorecards, Miranda said, "I would love a rematch."

With the hometown crowd chanting "Brian! Brian!" Viloria hit Miranda with a hard right to the body in the opening round, sending the Mexican to his knees. With Viloria's corner yelling, "Body shot. Body shot," Viloria landed several left hooks during in the fight, while dancing away from several attacks and keeping Miranda's power at bay.

Miranda did land a jarring left to Viloria's head in the fourth that seemed to momentarily take the steam out of Viloria.

The Mexican opened up a big cut over Viloria's right eye in the eighth round. Viloria wiped his brow and licked the blood with a smile at the end of the round.

With Miranda switching stances, Viloria hit him with a straight right to the head that sent the Mexican sprawling into the ropes in the seventh.

Miranda picked up the punching, but never got Viloria in trouble. With Miranda on the attack, a bloodied Viloria stayed away in the final seconds and dropped to his knees when the final bell sounded, raising his arms in the air.

Viloria returned to the ring for the fist time since knocking out Liempetch Sor Veerapol in the seventh round in November. Viloria last held the IBF light flyweight title, but lost it Columbia's Carlos Tamara in January 2010.

"This is something I've been wanting since last year when I lost the world title. I wanted to get back on the horse again and I did that tonight," Viloria said.

This was Viloria's first fight as a married man. He wed longtime girlfriend Erica Navarro in December.