Few American fighters are as decorated as Ruben Villa was in the amateurs. 

Villa (21-1, 7 KOs) returns April 13 in Corpus Christi, Texas, against Cristian Cruz Chacon (22-6-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-round fight.

The featherweight Villa, a proud Salinas, California native is hoping to achieve his dream this year, and that is to win a world title. 

Raymond Ford is in limbo, having said immediately he would vacate the WBA featherweight title after winning it against Otabek Kholmatov, but a press release came out on Friday stating he wanted to fight Nick Ball (if Ball defeated Rey Vargas, but they drew) so Ford’s future is unclear. 

Villa also holds a win over Luis Alberto Lopez, the IBF featherweight world champion, and the WBO featherweight title is influx as Rafael Espinoza upset Robeisy Ramirez but the two are believed to be set for a rematch later this year. With Vargas and Ball fighting to a draw in Saudi Arabia, the division appears open for contenders to challenge champions and Villa wants that call.

“Yes, I believe I will beat a world champion this year,” proclaimed Villa, to BoxingScene. “I want to fight for a world title as soon as possible. The politics of boxing took me out for two years. Now I am just hungry, I was in the gym the whole time, but now I am just hungry for a big fight.”

Villa’s lone loss was a split-decision to Emanuel Navarrete. The bout was for the vacant WBO featherweight title. Since that defeat, 41 months ago, Villa has put together a three-fight win streak. Two of his three wins were by knockouts including a stoppage of Maickol Lopez Villagrana, which took place in Stockton, California – two hours from his hometown. His victory saw a normally stoic Villa get fiery, standing on the ring rope in front of his fans who drove to watch him fight. 

Villa, the fighting pride of Salinas, wants to bring a world title back to his beloved hometown. 

“I love Salinas so much,” added Villa. “I am so proud to be where I am from.”

“I plan on doing good and executing the game plan in this fight, and then win a world title.” 

The 26-year-old southpaw will be fighting for the third time with his new promoter, Top Rank, having spent the early part of his career in a co-promotional deal with Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions. Now he hopes to put forth the performance that could lead him to his second title fight.