The Light Flyweight division has been a strange one in recent years with fighters often doing little than using it as a stop gap en route to bigger and better things. Fighters like Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonzalez, Kazuto Ioka and Juan Carlos Reveco have all been champions there recently before heading to pastures new. The only constant at the top of the division for the last few years has been the under-rated and over-looked Filipino icon Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20).
Nietes, who climbed atop of the division in 2011 has managed to rack up reign lasting more than 3 years and has featured 5 defense of the title, more than any other active champion in the division, in fact they have a combined 0 defenses!
The Filipino returns to the ring at the end of March as he looks to continue his light Flyweight reign and record his 11th total world title defense, combing reigns as Light Flyweight and Minimumweight champion. He also looks to continue his sensational form against Mexican opponent as he takes on Gilberto Parra (19-2-0-1, 17), in what will be his 5th straight fight against a Mexican foe.
For many the Light Flyweight division is a weak one. That's not a view we really share, our opinion is that it's one that has undergone a lot of changes and, as a result, has a lot of over-looked talent, such as Ryoichi Taguchi, Ryo Miyazaki and Paipharob Kokietgym. It's hard to argue however that Nietes, when he's on form, isn't the stand out fighter. He's defensively very good, has a wonderful arsenal of punches, under-rated power and brilliant timing. The only things lacking at times is his work rate or sometime his gameplan but in term of ability he is sensational.
Although not typically a big puncher Nietes has been hurting fighters recently and not only is he on a great run of results but he has also stopped his last 3 opponents. Included in those was a dominant victory against Moises Funetes last May in what really was one of the stand out performances of Nietes's career against a man we actually thought could have been a real threat.
Whilst Nietes is the widely regarded #1 in the division Para is just seen as just another challenger, the final challenger in many ways before Nietes battles former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
On paper Parra looks like a major puncher however his record is padded to say the least. He has yet to score a notable victory and in fact his only fight with a worth while opponent saw him come up short against Martin Tecuapetla, who has himself suffered a recent loss to Milan Melindo, a stable mate of Nietes.
Footage of Para is also less than impressive with little to suggest that he can fight at this level. He can puncher against lesser level fighters but we've never seen him do it against a higher calibre fighter before. In fact we're completely unsold on his power and seen him look crude, wild swinging, wide and terrible open. He has decent hand speed but takes much of the speed away from his own shots by being so wild and wide.
Whilst Parra does look dangerous at a lower level he also looks liek a made to order opponent for a clever fighter like Nietes. We suspect the wide shots of Parra will merely leave him open and he'll be countered almost at will by the talented Filipino. Whilst Nietes isn't a big puncher he's an accurate puncher and accurate counters will take their toll over time. We suspect they'll be enough to see off challenger inside the distance with Nietes managing to record a 4th straight stoppage victory.
(Image courtesy of ALA Promotions)
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