Anthony Villanueva

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Anthony Villanueva
Anthony Villanueva 2017 stamp of the Philippines.jpg
Weight(s) Featherweight
Height 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)[1]
Nationality Philippines
Born (1945-03-18)March 18, 1945
Died May 13, 2014(2014-05-13) (aged 69)
Cabuyao, Laguna[1]
Boxing record
Wins 1
Losses 3
No contests 1

Anthony N. Villanueva (March 18, 1945 – May 13, 2014) was a boxer from the Philippines. He competed in the featherweight (−57 kg) division at the 1964 Olympics and won a silver medal. Shortly after the Olympics he turned professional, but retired after five bouts. Besides boxing, Villanueva worked as an actor and boxing coach in the Philippines and as a security guard in the United States. He died penniless and bedridden after suffering several strokes.[1]

His father, José Villanueva, was also an Olympic boxer who won a bronze medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.[1]


Villanueva studied at the Far Eastern University.[2]

Amateur career[edit]

Anthony Villanueva was scouted by businessman and sport enthusiast Eugenio Puyat. He later won the 1962 national title and qualified for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He faced Soviet boxer Stanislav Stepashkin, in the gold medal match and lost in a 3–2 controversial decision.[3][4]

Olympic Games results[edit]


Professional career[edit]

Villanueva became a professional boxer at age 20.[1] His first fight as a professional was with Shigeo Nirasawa of Japan at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City which took place on October 2, 1965 as part of Fiesta Fistiana, a fund raising event organized by the Philippine Sportswriters Association for disabled boxers.[5]

Villanueva won the match by a controversial majority decision. The scoring of the judges was criticized and was described as something seen in movies. Judges Alfredo Quiazon and Alex Villacampa chose Villanueva as the victor with the tight scores 29–28 oand 28–27 respectively. The third judge Jaime Valencia called it a draw with the score 29-all.[6]

Anthony and his father filed a case against Ilang-Ilang Productions of Espiridion Laxa for P45,000 for "exploitation of popularity". The production firm was accused of filming the said match without the consent of the Villanuevas. The results of the case were never announced.[6]

Professional boxing record[edit]

1 Wins (1 decision), 3 Losses (2 knockouts, 1 decision), 1 No Contest[7]
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Lose 1–3 Australia Ross Eadie TKO 1 1975-10-05 AustraliaDarwin Amphitheatre, Darwin, Northern Territory
Lose 1–2 Philippines Jimmy Noel TKO 8 1967-09-30 PhilippinesRizal Memorial Coliseum, Manila, Metro Manila
Lose 1–1 Philippines Sugar Cane Carreon D 10 1967-04-15 PhilippinesAngeles, Pampanga
NC 1–0 Philippines Aquino Junior NC 6 1966-06-10 Philippines Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Manila, Metro Manila
Win 1–0 Japan Shigeo Nirasawa MD 10 1965-10-02 Philippines Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Metro Manila Professional boxing debut.

Acting career[edit]

Shortly after winning the silver medal, Villanueva went into an acting career, though at the cost of his amateur boxing license. He then starred in five movies.[8] He appeared in Malakas, Kaliwa't Kanan with Nida Blanca, Salonga Brothers with then actor Joseph Estrada. Villanueva also appeared in The Pancho Villa Story.[6]

Later life[edit]

Villanueva was married to his wife Liezel Beldia for seventeen years, and had four children.[9]

In 1976, he went to the United States to earn a living. He worked as a cook in a Mexican restaurant in Massachusetts, then as a security guard in Staten Island and the Philippine Consulate in New York City.[1] He also worked as a boxing coach at private gyms. He later returned to the Philippines in 1988 assisted the Philippine national boxing coach team to prepare the team for the 1988 Summer Olympics then later returned the United States after failing in a bid to find a stable job but eventually returned home for good.[5][10]

Villanueva suffered a mild stroke in 1999. He tried selling his silver medal for 1 million pesos a year later. He was persuaded to donate the medal to the Philippine Sports Commission instead.[10]

Death and legacy[edit]

Villanueva died in his sleep on May 13, 2014, in Cabuyao, Laguna. He was 69.[11] Villanueva was bedridden due to multiple complications including kidney malfunction and severe heart ailments. He had suffered about five strokes and heart attacks in the past fourteen years before his death.[10] Villanueva won the country's first silver medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics, a feat echoed by Onyok Velasco when he won the country's second silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Manny Pacquaio described Villanueva as the "original Filipino boxing icon who should never be forgotten by the nation."[12] AIBA president Wu Ching-Kuo also said that the death of Villanueva not only left a void in Philippine boxing but also "in the hearts of all those who knew this hero around the world."[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Anthony Villanueva.
  2. ^ Jocsoni, Pablo (May 13, 2014). "An Olympic Silver for the Philippines". Far Eastern University. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ Boxing at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games: Men's Featherweight
  4. ^ Llanos, Ricky. "7,000 fans boo decision". The Manila Times. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Alinea, Eddie (May 18, 2014). "Remembering Anthony Villanueva". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c "Anthony Villanueva". Philippine Sport Greats. Mandaluyong, Rizal: MAN Publishers. 1972. 
  7. ^ Anthony Villanueva's Professional Boxing Record –. Retrieved on August 30, 2014.
  8. ^ Henson, Joaquin (May 14, 2014). "Boxing great yields helplessly hoping". The Philippine Star. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  9. ^ Henson, Joaquin (May 18, 2014). "Olympic hero interred today". The Philippine Star. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c Henson, Joaquin (May 14, 2014). "Boxing great yields helplessly hoping". Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  11. ^ First Filipino Olympic silver medalist Anthony Villanueva passes away at age 69. GMA Network (May 13, 2014)
  12. ^ "Manny Pacquiao expresses grief over death of ‘original Filipino boxing icon’ Anthony Villanueva". May 15, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  13. ^ "AIBA president sends condolences over death of Filipino Olympic medalist Anthony Villanueva". May 16, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 

External links[edit]