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Monday, April 4, 2011

Donnie (Ahas) Nietes seeks 2nd world title


WBO minimumweight champion Donnie (Ahas) Nietes is set to relinquish his 105-pound title and move up to the lightflyweight division but before bidding for a second world crown, he’s got to dispose of Mexico’s Armando Vazquez in a scheduled 10-round bout at the La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod on April 9.

It’s a big test for Nietes who hasn’t fought in eight months and will engage a natural 108-pounder. If Nietes wins, he’ll be in line for a crack at the WBO lightflyweight title.

Nietes’ manager Michael Aldeguer said his minimumweight title hasn’t been vacated. But in the latest WBO ratings, Mexico’s Raul Garcia was installed the new champion with Filipino Rommel Asenjo the No. 1 contender. Nietes is now ranked No. 2 in the lightflyweight division behind Ramon Garcia.

WBO interim lightflyweight champion Jesus Geles of Colombia and Ramon Garcia are set to square off in Mexico City on April 30 with the winner mandated to stake the crown against Nietes provided he wins over Vazquez. WBO lightflyweight titlist Giovani Segura faced Ivan Calderon in a rematch in Mexicali yesterday. Assuming a Segura victory, he is expected to give up the throne and invade the flyweight ranks.

Raul Garcia and Asenjo will fight for the WBO minimumweight title in the undercard of the Geles-Garcia mainer. Asenjo, 21, has won 15 in a row and boasts a 20-2 record, with 16 KOs. Raul Garcia, 28, beat Filipino Florante Condes by split decision in 2008 and totes a 29-1-1 record, with 17 KOs. Asenjo was recently signed up to join Aldeguer’s ALA stable.

For Nietes, a second world title may bring him closer to the recognition he deserves.

It’s sad because of all what Donnie has accomplished, winning and defending three times in Mexico which no other Filipino has done and holding the title for four years now, closing at second to the great Flash Elorde,” said Aldeguer. “Donnie still hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves but we believe that his time will come and to think there are only three legitimate world champions the Philippines has now – Donnie, Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire.

Aldeguer said he has been assured by WBO president Paco Valcarcel that Nietes will face the winner of the Geles-Garcia bout for the lightflyweight crown.

Donnie is waiting for the winner of the rematch between Geles and Ramon Garcia,” said Aldeguer. “This was agreed during my meeting with Mr. Valcarcel and Zanfer Promotions when I was in Las Vegas for the (Mark) Melligen and Donaire fights. We heard that Segura will move up to 112 after his rematch with Calderon. Donnie’s dream is to fight Segura.

Aldeguer’s father Tony echoed the sentiment of Nietes’ lack of recognition. “He’s the first and only Filipino champion to have defended his title thrice in Mexico,” said Tony. “In spite of his holding the title for so long and having successfully defended it four times, Donnie remains unheralded in his own country. Of our current Filipino world champions, he is the least known among them. He is aware of this and it is for this reason that he wants to challenge for the 108-pound title in order to prove that he is the best among his peers.

Tony said of all the ALA fighters, Nietes is the most matured and good-natured. “I feel he will reign long,” he continued. “Donnie knows how to handle his earnings and prides himself of owning two lots in his hometown and is building his dream house on a lot I gifted him after winning the world title. He drives his own car and has substantial bank deposits from his earnings in his title defenses in Mexico.

Nietes, 28, won the vacant WBO 105-pound crown via a unanimous 12-round decision over Thailand’s Pornsawan Porpramook in 2007. He has since repulsed four challengers, three in Mexico, to raise his record to 27-1-3, with 15 KOs. His only setback was a loss by split decision to Angky Angkota in Jakarta in 2004. Nietes is unbeaten in his last 18 outings.

Vazquez is coming off back-to-back wins over Horacio Sanchez (KO3) and Pablo Cruz Ortega (W6) but before the surge, lost three in a row by knockout. His record is 18-5, with 4 KOs.

In “The Ultimate Book of Boxing Lists,” authors Bert Randolph Sugar and Teddy Atlas named Nietes as one of the top five all-time minimumweight fighters in the world. Sugar listed Nietes with Ricardo Lopez, Calderon, Ratanapol Sor Vorapin and Jose Antonio Aguirre while Atlas included the Filipino in his lineup with Sor Vorapin, Roman Gonzalez, Calderon and Lopez.


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