Born and raised in the Southern Philippines, a region with a vast history of cultivating past and current world boxing champions including Pound 4 Pound King Manny Paquiao, Mark could not be closer to where the action is in Philippine boxing. In fact, his earliest influence of the sweet science came from his own home. His father, the late Judge Napoleon Villanueva of Butuan City, was a fervid fan of the great Muhammad Ali himself and had taught his son the first few terms of the sport. When Mark later on married his wife Barbra in 2005, he found himself in a family that had their own boxing stories to tell, too. Her grandfather was a boxer who fought after the second World War in the island of Camiguin, earning a meager fifty centavos per bout, before eventually gaining more success with other endeavors and established his name as a local businessman more known for building the first theater and financed the first concrete road in the city. One of her uncles also used to own a boxing stable back in the early eighties before caving in to financial issues that beset the struggling sport in a community with no clear boxing programs.
Mark is a graduate of Political Science at the USC in Cebu City but later on dropped out of Law School after a personal realization that a dry and frigid legal system sparked very little to no interest in his mindset. He works with one of the biggest telecoms company in the country and loves to keep it busy by devoting his free time to covering the sport as a local correspondent to the New York-based Boricua Boxing and training with the same team that elevated the careers of William Magahin to being the WBF Welterweight world champion and Felix Tuble as a WBC Flyweight interim champion in the nineties.
Some of Mark’s works are published in other top boxing sites such as Phil Boxing, Pacland, while he maintains his personal page- the Boxing Insight. His long term goal is to rebuild the grassroots program of Iloilo City, where he now resides, and bring honor to its athletes; giving back to the sport that keeps his fire burning. Big dreams, yeah, but he prefers to give it all or nothing at all. Mark writes with a fighter's heart.