Francisco Guilledo was born in Illiolo, Philippines in 1901. Born into a poor family, he traveled to Manila search of work. In Manila, he met Frank Churchill who managed Olympic Club, a boxing gym for amateur boxers. Guilledo’s skill was quickly recognized by his peers and his reputation spread like wildfire. Under the direction of Churchill, Guilledo took on the name “Pancho Villa” after the Mexican revolutionary. Amongst his peers, Villa was known as a clean and respectable fighter, turning and walking to his corner when he knocked down his opponent. Villa’s gesture of respect would later be implemented in boxing’s knockdown rules.
In 1919, Villa had his first professional fight against George Mendres, Australia’s Flyweight Champion. Villa knocked Mendres out in three rounds.
In 1922, Villa moved to the United States under the direction of Churchill, boasting a record of 49W-1L-0D. On
On September 14th1922, at age 21, Villa fought Johnny Buff (57-W-8L-5D) for the American Flyweight Championship. Villa knocked out Buff in the 11thround.
On June 18th1923, Villa fought Jimmy Wilde for the World Flyweight Championship. A right hook in the seventh round landed on Wilde’s jaw, sending him to the ground.
Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guielldo became the first Asian fighter to win the Flyweight Championship of the World and is regarded as the greatest Asian fighter to ever live. Villa’s untimely death in 1925 left many to speculate what his career would have been. Villa passed away at age 23 with a professional record of 77W-L-4D.
Author, AJ Ruiz