Just moments ago MTK Global Boxing announced their "Dubai Fight Series", which will consist of 3 shows in Dubai. The cards aren't fully fleshed out, but there are a number of Asian fighters set to be involved in the shows.
The first card, set for February 6th, doesn't appear to have an Asian fighter but the follow up show, in March 12th, is set to feature two Kazakh fighters.
One of those Kazakh's will be the unbeaten Zhankosh Turarov (24-0, 17) [Жанкош Тураров], who will take on Northern Irish fighter Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6) in what looks like a very interesting match up. For Turarov this will be his first bout since July 2019, when he stopped Mauro Maximiliano Godoy, and despite likely being the favourite "Da Kazakh Kid" is now 30 and appears to missed the boat on becoming a true contender. McKenna on the other is also 30 and is looking to bounce back from a September 2020 loss to Ohara Davies. McKenna is typically a fun fighter to watch and his energy and work rate could give Turarov fits.
Another Kazakh on that same card is Viktor Kotochigov (12-1, 5) [Виктор Коточигов], who will be looking to bounce back from his October 2020 loss to Maxi Hughes. His opponent will be the unbeaten Irishman Gary Cully (11-0, 5). On paper this is a very, very even match up and should be a compelling one, especially with Kotochigov looking to bounce back from his first defeat.
Despite the two Kazakh fighters being set to fight on March 12th the really interesting part of the MTK announcement was their April show, set for April 3rd, which will feature two Filipino fighters.
One of those will be 26 year old hopeful Albert Pagara (33-1, 23), who will be looking to build on his current 7 fight winning run. His opponent hasn't been named, though fingers crossed it's a step up from his recent bouts against the likes of Lucky Tor Buamas and George Krampah.
The other will be the long awaited return to the ring of Filipino legend Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23), who hasn't been seen in the ring since defeating Kazuto Ioka way back in December 2018 to claim the WBO Super Flyweight title and become a 4-weight world champion. Sadly Nietes's inactivity since then has seen him become a forgotten man, and he turns 39 in May, an ancient age for a Super Flyweight. It is great to see Nietes' return to the ring being confirmed, though it is way, way over-due.
As with Pagara Nietes's opponent wasn't announced, though we suspect it will be a bit of a gimmie for "Ahas", who deserves an easy bout to shake some ring rust before a big bout later in the year.
Over the last few weeks there have been rumours mounting that former 4-weight world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23) was set to turn to the ring in December, in a domestic clash with domestic foe Renz Rosia (16-9-1, 8). Today it's been confirmed that Nietes has turned that bout down and will not be returning to the ring until the new year.
Talking about the supposed stay busy fight Nietes told the Business Mirror that he would gain nothign from the bout, and that he didn't want to face a Filipino in a tune up bout. The added that the offer wasn't a good one.
Instead of fighting in December Nietes will now be eyeing a bout in February in Dubai under the MTK banner. If he gets through the the plan is to actively pursue Nietes' long hoped dream fight with Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez later in 2021.
In some we do under-stand Nietes' view here, and it's clear that Rosia and the promoter are trying to use Nietes to increase interest in the December 18th event. On the other hand Nietes hasn't fought since December 31st 2018, when he defeated Kazuto Ioka [井岡一翔] for the WBO Super Flyweight title. A title that he quickly vacated before sitting on the shelf. The decision to vacate is one he has since admitted that he regrets.
Despite the long lay off Nietes seems to feel that as long as he's training he'll be able to perform at the highest level. Sadly though the 38 year old is no longer a spring chicken and we do wonder whether his idea of being in shape, and training will be enough when he returns to the ring next year.
When ALA closed their doors earlier this year, after more than 35 years of being involved in the sport, there were a number of notable fighters released from their contracts and essentially but on a free agency lists. Whilst many of those were touted prospects and fringe contenders, one name stood out as being a legitimate legend of the lower weights. That was 4-weight world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23).
The veteran, who won world titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight, Flyweight and Super Flyweight, was approached by numerous promoters about handling the finals few fights of his career. Today however it was announced that the race for his signature was over and that he had signed with a new promoter and management company.
Just moments ago MTK announced that Nietes had signed a deal with MTK Global to advise and manage his career and with Dubai based D4G Promotions to promote his career. Following former ALA stablemate Albert Pagara.
In a press released issued by ALA Nietes himself is quotes as stating:
“I am very happy with this new step in my career. It means so much to me. Being a part of this team is brilliant and I am very grateful.
“I’m happy with what I’ve achieved so far. The journey has been wonderful and I will forever cherish how I worked hard in building my successful career. I’m not done yet and I am now hoping to get a fight with Estrada, Rungvisai and Chocolatito.
“I want to be back as soon as possible. Whether it be December or January. I am currently preparing already and I am pleased to be going back in the ring after two years. I will bring pride to MTK Global, D4G Promotions and my country Philippines.”
As well as Nietes the press released included quotes from the MTK Global Chief Strategy Officer Paul Gibson:
“We’re delighted to again be teaming up with our friends at D4G Promotions to work alongside boxing legend Donnie Nietes.
“He’s already had tremendous success in his career having won world titles in four-weight classes, and we’re confident of securing some huge fights for him in the always-entertaining super-flyweight division.”
And Ahmed A Seddiqi, from D4G Promotions:
It’s an honour to announce the signing of Donnie Nietes, and both us and MTK Global are extremely excited to be working with such a huge talent.
“There are some massive fights out there for him, and we are looking forward to seeing him showcase his skills when he makes his long-awaited return in the near future.”
At the moment the news on when Nietes will return to the ring is unclear, however Nietes had recently told the Manilla Times "They want to give me a tune-up fight by December or January." So fingers are crossed that that is still the plan and we will see him in the ring in the next few months. Given that Nietes is already 38, and will be turning 39 in May, his career is certainly not far from ending, and it may well be that he only has 2 or 3 bouts left in his body.
It's worth noting that Nietes has been away from the ring since a career defining victory in 2018 over Kazuto Ioka, to become the WBO Super Flyweight champion. His hope had been to secure a big fight with ALA but that big fight was never secured and the hope now seems to be for D4G to land him that big, mega fight to end his career.
For those interested the press release can be read here..
Earlier today the Manila Times reported that Filipino legend Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23) is set to return to the sport in the coming months. Not only that but he has, seemingly, signed a deal with a promoter and manager, taking him off the proverbial "free agent" list created when ALA closed their doors a few weeks ago.
Nietes, a 4-weight world champion who was the most decorated ALA fighter and one of the best little men of the last 20 years. He is now 38 but still has hunger for a big fight, despite being out of the ring since his 2018 win over Kazuto Ioka in Macau. That win over Ioka saw Nietes add the WBO Super Flyweight title to a collection that also includes the WBO Minimumweight and Light Flyweight titles, as well as the IBF Flyweight title.
It appears a lot of the reason for Nietes's new contract is the appeal of a major bout with one of the top Super Flyweight names. This was shown in his comments in the Manila Times, including this quote:
"The offer is pretty good. They want to give me a tune-up fight by December or January. After that they will try to negotiate with any of Rungvisai, Chocolatito or Estrada for a possible match,”
Notably Nietes didn't reveal who he had signed with, and explained “I don’t want to preempt. I just think that we have to wait for [them] to announce. Probably they will announce it this week,”
Despite not naming the promoter it would seem likely to be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, given the Englishman plays a part in the careers of Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Adding Nietes into that mix would certainly be interesting, despite the lengthy lay off and advanced age of "Ahas".
Given Nietes' comments about expecting the announcement from the promoted to come soon we'll hopefully learn not just who is in charge of his career going forward, but what the plan is for his in ring return.
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According to our good friends over at Asian Fight scene 38 year old Filipino Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23) may not be done with the sport after all, and is getting numerous offers to keep fighting on.
Asian Fight Scene have reported that Nietes has been given promotional offers from 10 different promotions, spreading across numerous countries.
The offers are said to have come from the Philippines, the UK, the US, Japan and Dubai, though no promoters have been explicitly named.
Although he's not fought since the end of 2018, literally he fought in one of the final bouts of the year, Nietes has never actually stated he's retired. He was at ALA Boxing when they closed up shop and is now a promotional free agent. This opens the door for him to consider the offers and potentially take which ever he feels best.
Whilst no promoters were named there are a few that would seem likely to be interested in the 4-weight world champion.
For example D4G promotions in Dubai, who now promote former stablemate Albert Pagara, would likely be the Dubai promoter. Yokohama Hikari in Japan would likely be one of the Japanese promoters interested in him, given their prior relationship with ALA, and potentially Kasimi being the other, with their long relationship of working with Filipino fighters. As for the UK it would seem plausible for Eddie Hearn to have been interested, given how many Super Flyweights he has among his ranks, and potentially either MTK or Frank Warren.
As of yet he has seemingly not made a decision on where he wants to go, or even if he's returning to the ring for definite, but with offers on the table it may be hard for Nietes to turn down a ring return, especially if he can get a career defining super fight to end his illustrious career.
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