According to sources in Thailand there may a large and destructive stumbling block in the way of the much anticipated rematch between WBC Super Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3, 28) and WBA "super" champion Roman Gonzalez (50-2, 41). And it's a man that both fighters know well.
According to article on Komthai (the site that was formerly Thairec), the WBC have now sent instructions to both Estrada's team and that of former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (49-5-1, 42) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] to negotiate a deal between the two men, to close off what would be a fantastic trilogy between the two.
The article states that on Monday night the president of the WBC ordered both teams to begin the negotiations process to organise a bout between the men, essentially ordering the two men into a mandatory title bout. The teams were also, reportedly, told that if an agreement cannot be reached the bout will go to purse bids on December 1st in Mexico City.
Srisaket is quoted as saying "I am really happy to hear this good news. Thanks to President Mauricio Suleiman and the WBC World Boxing Council Committee members for giving this order as promised. I will prepare as best as possible in my life and will definitely not disappoint you and the WBC."
Although both men have got connects to Matchroom USA, as does Roman Gonzalez, it does seem unlikely that Srisaket and his Thai team will be willing to wait too long for this shot given that he's already 33, and turns 34 in December, an age where Super Flyweights to have limited success.
The first of today's notable Asian shows came from the WorkPoint Studio in Bangphun where we had an unbeaten Thai hopeful in the opening bout of the event and a former 2-time world champion in the main event. Sadly we also had controversy mar over the show.
The first bout saw the unbeaten Apichet Petchmanee (7-0, 2) [อภิเชษฐ เพชรมณี] retain the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title with what could only be described as a gift. The touted Apichet was up against Thai based Russian challenger Musheg Adoian (7-2, 7), who must wonder what exactly he needed to do to get a decision after this.
The bout started competitively and there wasn't much to pick between them in the opening round. That however was just the opening round, with the bout quickly changing in round 2.
Round 2 began as a good round for Apichet, who was picking some really nice shots, especially his uppercut's, but he was dropped hard at the end of the round by 2 big right hands that sent the champion down. The bell saved Apichet from further punishment but he was still a wounded fighter in round 3, and he was dropped just seconds into the round. This was a big knockdown, from a left hook, and the Thai seemed to be on the verge of being taken out. Some how he survived, despite having a torrid round, and managed to clear his head.
Following a nightmarish round 3 Apichet then rebounded well and seemed to take rounds 4 and 5 by changing tactics, boxing and moving, and not letting the harder hitting Adoian land his bombs. Despite the change in tactics Apichet failed to land anything that hurt Adoian, who seemed to walk through everything that the unbeaten Thai landed. That, obviously, wasn't winning Adoian rounds, but was making it clear that the Thai didn't have the power needed to get his respect. That was something that likely played on Apichet's mind in round 6 and 7 as Adoian began to press more, forcing the Thai to hold, spoil, and be as negative as possible.
It was the final 2 rounds, rounds 7 and 8, where Apichet's negativity seemed to seal his fate for us. He simply didn't do enough to win either round. He was too busy trying to look cute, and not landing anything of value to take either round. Given the knockdowns he was in a hole and his performance in the final 6 minutes it seemed clear that he had given the bout away.
Sadly for Adoian the judges felt otherwise and although we're not 100% certain on the scores, Apichet did get the majority decision here to retain his title and unbeaten record.*
We had this one 77-73 Adoian, though can certainly see it being a round closer, though we can't see see how a judge could have Apichet winning.
Following the controversy in the Apichet Vs Adoian bout we saw a completely uncontroversial bout as former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (49-5-1, 42) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] took the chance to shake some ring rust with a 2nd round TKO win over Filipino fighter Jomar Fajardo (17-18-2, 9). This really was all Srisaket from the opening bell as he walked down the Filipino and forced a stoppage very late in the second round.
*Note - Apichet was announced as SPLIT decision winner, but the scorecards have been posted since then confirming the results was a MAJORITY decision, with scores of 76-74 Apichet, twice, and 75-57, even.
Tomorrow fight fans tuning in to WorkPoint TV in Thailand will get the chance to see former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (48-5-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] take part in a stay busy bout as he takes on Filipino fighter Jomar Fajardo (17-17-2, 9). The bout will be the main event of the next "WP Boxing event", and is very much regarded as a stay busy bout for Srisaket, who is hoping to land a big fight in the near future.
The bout, being fought at a contracted 120lbs, saw the two men take part in their weigh in today and both men hit the scales bang on the contracted limit.
Although he's the clear favourite Srisaket looked somewhat fleshy at the weigh in. It's clear this isn't his fighting weight, of course that's 115lbs, but Fajardo looked in good shape. He wasn't shredded, like some fighters, but he certainly appeared to carry 120lbs better than the former 2-time world champion.
At the weigh in the promoter really summed things up for Srisaket. He stated the fight is there to knock the rust off Srisaket, and to prepare him for a world title bout next year. He added that Srisaket must show his ability.
For fans outside of Thailand wanting to watch this WorkPoint do usually stream their boxing shows to a global audience on their facebook, which can be found here.
(Image courtesy of WP Boxing)
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.
For more updates from the Asian boxing world follow us on twitter @Asianboxing
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!