Oozing with confidence and showing superior technical boxing skills, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes became a four-division world titleholder by beating Japanese Kazuto Ioka via split decision on New Year’s Eve, winning the vacant World Boxing Organization belt at the Wynn Palace in Macau.
The 36-year-old Nietes joined Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. with more than three world titles in different weight divisions. Pacquiao has a record eight world titles in eight divisions, while Donaire has four.
The Murcia, Negros Occidental-born boxer got favorable scorecards from American judges Levi Martinez (118-110) and Patricia Morse Jarman (116-112), just enough to secure the title.
Ioka got a favorable score from Panamanian judge Samuel Nieto (112-116).
“I felt so nervous when the announcer revealed the judges’ decision. We were not expecting a split decision because everybody knew who really won the fight, but that’s okay,” Nietes’ trainer Edito Villamor told Manila Standard via overseas call early New Year morning.
“It was really a career-defining performance by Donnie (Nietes). We executed very well our game plan,” Villamor added. “Donnie fought at his very best and avoided Ioka’s massive body shots by countering them with his timely uppercuts.”
Relying on great head movements and jabs, Nietes overcame Ioka’s body shots with superb counter-punching and uppercuts particularly in the latter rounds. Despite Ioka’s aggressiveness in the latter rounds, Nietes was able to avoid his solid punches the rest of the way.
“I’m really happy to get it (four-division world title) during the New Year,” said Nietes, who improved his win-loss-draw record to 42-1-5 with 23 knockouts as he succeeded in winning a world title in the super flyweight, adding it to his previous world title collections.
He already won world titles in the minimum weight, light flyweight and flyweight classes.
Nietes also returned to the elite circle of Filipino world champions after relinquishing his International Boxing Federation flyweight belt.
Other Filipino current world champions are the World Boxing Association welterweight champion Pacquiao, WBA bantamweight Donaire Jr., WBO minimumweight champion Vic Saludar, WBA interim bantamweight champion Reymart Gaballo, WBA interim featherweight champion Jhack Tepora and IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas.
Ioka dropped to 23-2 record with 13 knockouts.
Nietes and his team arrived earlier this afternoon in Cebu.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.