UNBEATEN Frenchman Nordine Oubaali eased to victory in the first defence of his WBC bantamweight title, halting Artur Villanueva in six rounds inside Barys Arena in Nur-Saltan (Astana), Kazakhstan.
Oubaali, who took the title from Rau’shee Warren in January, peppered the overmatched challenger from the opening bell but Villanueva appearing in a world title fight is more than a little perplexing. The Filipino had notched only two wins from his previous five outings and his most recent contest prior to landing this shot, back in November last year, ended in a 10-round draw with the unheralded Carlo Demecillo. The last time he fought at world class, almost two years ago, he was stopped in six by Luis Nery.
Southpaw Oubaali is being lined up for a potential Nery bout. Should that happen, he will find it significantly tougher than what he encountered here. The 32-year-old went about his task impressively enough, though, firing long accurate blows that Villanueva, 30, could not handle. The underdog was felled in round six from a left hand, made it to his feet, but signalled he wanted no more at the end of the session.