After some early speculation it's been revealed that the Filipino has told the WBO that he wishes to vacated the title to pursue career defining fights, and chase big bouts only, rather than rematch fellow Filipino Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21), who he had been ordered to face in a mandatory defense. There had long been talk about the bout not being likely, with Nietes not expected to take the option of facing Palicte and instead looking at other potential options, including a bout with Roman Gonzalez, and it's now clear that bout with Palicte is not taking place.
Interestingly the next highest ranked available contender with the WBO, so Palicte's likely foe for a vacant title, is Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13) [井岡一翔]. Ioka lost to Nietes, in a razor thin decision in December, and is said to be eyeing a Spring return, so Ioka Vs Palicte could be the fall out from Nietes's possible decision, and would certainly be a very, very good bout.
Again things haven't been confirmed, and at the moment this more rumour and speculation than anything else, but it's educated guess work.
Interestingly the rumours circulating from Nicaragua is that Roman Gonzalez may also be heading into retirement, which could well have played a part in Nietes' decision regarding his future.
EDIT / UPDATE -
Following this being posted it's been revealed that Nietes and ALA have sent letters to the WBO to confirm that their plan is to only have career defining bouts his, given that Nietes is 37 in May, and have thanked the WBO for their support through out Nietes' career.
We've known for a while that Aidos Yerbossynuly (10-0, 8) [Айдос Ербосынулы] would be in action in March. We now have far more information on that bout.
The unbeaten Kazakh will be be fighting for minor titles from the WBA, WBC and WBO on March 24th in Almaty. His opponent for the bout will be Namibian fighter Lukas Ndafoluma (15-1-0-1, 6) who is actually a very decent opponent. Unlike many fighters from Namibia he has picked up wins outside of his homeland, beating Craig Cunningham in the UK in 2017 and picking up wins in South Africa and Uganda.
For Yerbossynuly this looks set to be one of his stiffest test to dates, and will see him in with a fighter who will be in the ring to win. Ndafoluma will know that if he picks up a win, and the titles on offer, he will find himself on the verge of a big pay day so will not be there to roll over to the Kazakh.
At the moment the undercard for this bout hasn't been revealed though we would expect to see Kazakh novices in action on the show.
Recently we were informed of an interesting Japanese card set for April 15th with several notable names involved on it.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (30-8-5, 21) [高橋竜也] take on hard hitting domestic foe Masayasu Nakamura (6-3-1, 6) [中村 誠康]. On paper this is a bit of a mismatch, given Takahashi's experience, but the veteran hasn't looked great in recent bouts, taking a narrow win over Gaku Aikawa and losing last year to Ikuro Sadatsune and Nakamura will know a win here will put him on the map domestically.
Hard hitting Welterweight Yuki Beppu (18-1-1, 18) [別府優樹] will be in the co-feature, looking to bounce back from his 2018 defeat to Yuki Nagano. He will be up against Filipino foe Jason Egera (24-20-2, 11), and will be seeking to bounce back from that defeat here.
Also on this show will be Japanese ranked Minimumweight Desierto Nagaike (11-4-2, 2) [長池拓] and promising Super Bantamweight prospect Tetsuya Watanabe (4-1, 3) [渡部哲也].
Back on December 24th Keita Kurihara (13-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] took a narrow decision win over Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹] to become the new OPBF Bantamweight champion. For weeks there had been talk about it potentially being over-turned due to errors by officials who could render the bout a No Contest.
Today we have been informed that the bout will not be over-turned, with the JBC stating the time errors did not have an unfair influence on the result of the match. Essentially suggesting that the mistakes didn't favour one fighter or the other.
They also explained that it didn't fall within the provisions to become a no-contest, even with the mistakes.
The officials for the bout have been punished, especially the time keeper who has had his license suspended indefinitely, so it is good to hear that there will be no punishment to Kurihara for something that was out of his control. He will now be able to focus on recording his first defense, rather than trying to re-win the title that he took in December
Just moments ago DAZN confirmed the date and venue for the very highly anticipated rematch between WBC and Ring Magazine Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] and Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26).
The bout, which had been in the works for a while, will take place on April 26th at the Forum in Los Angeles, the same venue that the two fought their first bout, back in February 2018.
Their first bout saw Srisaket narrowly retain his title with a majority decision in a sensational 12 round back and forth. The bout saw the Thai icon being pushed hard late on, though his work earlier in the fight secured him the win. Since then he has scored 2 wins in Thailand whilst Estrada has picked up a couple of wins in the US.
Notably the show will also feature the IBF and WBA Super Bantamweight unification bout between TJ Doheny and Daniel Roman in an excellent match up. Interesting the winner will have several men swirling, with mandatory challengers Murodjon Akhmadaliev (5-0, 4) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович], for the WBA title, and Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑], for the IBF title, both eyeing up the winner.
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