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Nietes in pound-for-pound breakthrough

By Joaquin Henson
Sun, 17 Jun 2018

Former WBO minimumweight, WBO lightflyweight and IBF flyweight champion Donnie Nietes became only the third Filipino ever after Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, Jr. to make it to the top 10 Ring Magazine pound-for-pound honor roll as he was ranked No. 9 in the latest ratings.

Its the first time Nietes has been named to the top 10 and hes the only Filipino but the fourth Asian in the ladder. The other Asians are No. 1 Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan, No. 5 Naoya Inoue of Japan and No. 6 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand. Ironically, Nietes is without a belt at the moment, relinquishing his IBF 112-pound title last April to move up to the superflyweight division.

ALA Boxing president Michael Aldeguer tipped off The Star the other day on the breakthrough. Aldeguer also said Nietes will battle countryman Aston Palicte for the vacant WBO superflyweight crown. Its 99 percent sure but were just waiting for the signed contract, he said. It will be on Aug. 18 in Cebu or in September abroad.

Nietes said its always been his dream to join Pacquiao and Donaire among the multiple Filipino titleholders. This is the challenge Ive been waiting for, he said. To go up in weight is never easy but my dream is to become a fourth division world champion and to fight all the big names at superflyweight. This is a new challenge for me and Im very happy that ALA Promotions has supported me to pursue my dream.

Nietes, 36, hasnt lost in 33 consecutive fights since losing a disputed split decision to Indonesian Angky Angkota, who weighed six pounds over the limit, in Jakarta in 2004. His record is now 41-1-4, with 23 KOs. Nietes has the distinction of defeating eight world champions----Edgar Sosa, Pornsawan Porpramook, Juan Carlos Reveco, Francisco Rodriguez, Ramon Garcia, Raul Garcia, Moises Fuentes and Mario Rodriguez.

Nietes was devastating in knocking out Reveco in the seventh round to retain his IBF flyweight title at the Forum in Inglewood last February. I can bring up my power to 115, said Nietes in Pilipino. Its all about timing. When Im not training, I walk around at 130 so I think I can even move up to 118 and 122. I used to walk around at 125 to 127. Since training with (Speed of Sport conditioning coach) Nick (Curson) for Reveco, Ive developed more power and my punch is stronger. Ive never felt like this before.

Nietes said unifying the 115-pound championship is a goal. Im ready to fight anyone, he said. It depends on the negotiations. Whatever Sir Michael decides, Ill do. To become the undisputed champion would be an honor. The reigning superflyweight champions are the IBFs Jerwin Ancajas, WBAs Khalid Yafai of the UK and WBCs Srisaket.

Photo: Donnie Nietes (L) with ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer in Fresno, California during the Jerwin Ancajas vs Jonas Sultan fight last May 26.

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