In late 2018 we saw WBO Super Flyweight title bout in Macau that saw Filipino great Filipino great Donnie Nietes (43-2-6, 23) score arguably the most notable win of his career, becoming a 4-weight world champion as he took a split decision over Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (29-2, 15) [井岡一翔]. Sadly for Nietes he failed to build on that win, vacating the title in pursuit of bigger things, essentially giving up his proverbial bargaining chip. In the end he would sit out for more than 2 years, whilst Ioka went on to win the title Nietes gave up, and then built his own legacy with impressive wins against Jeyvier Cintron and Kosei Tanaka.
Today, most than 3 and a half years later, we saw the men face off again, with Nietes entering as the mandatory challenger for Ioka's title.
This time around the bout really didn't click like their first encounter, with both men looking older, less energetic and less hungry than they did in Macau. Sadly this lead to a much lower, less exciting and less competitive bout.
From the opening round Ioka, the much younger man, looked like someone with a lot more left in the tank. He was quicker, sharper, more active and managed to find the bodu of Nietes. The body work of Ioka, which has long been under-rated, was a key facet through out the fight and he landed a variety of great body shots round after round, tryign to take the legs away from the 40 year old Nietes.
Impressively however Nietes' legs which actually his major asset, along with his time, as he managed to counter Ioka just enough to keep the champion the champion honest and prevent him from marching in without a care in the world. Those counters forced Ioka to remain respectful, but they dodn't stop him from intelligently controlling the bout, round after round, with clean, accurate shots. He simply out working Nietes, who's work at times was incredibly low.
The bout very much felt like one that was very samey through out. Ioka looked classy, intelligent, and like a man who methodically breaking down a decent, but faded veteran. Nietes on the other hand looked to connect with jabs early in rounds, and counter when Ioka upped the tempo. The only real changes seemed to come in the second half, as Nietes would end up on the ropes occasionally, where it seemed like he could be at risk of more body shots, but the veteran manage to avoid taking too much punishment, and actually put up a better effort in the later stages of the fight.
Given the one sided natural of the bout overall it did lack drama, though that changed in round 10 when Nietes suffered a cut on his right eyelid. It was a nasty cut that saw him being taken over to the ringside doctor. He was fit to continue, but the cut did seem to make him even more negative, almost as if he was happy to see the final bell, rather than win.
After 12 rounds there was really no questioning the result, with Ioka taking a unanimous decision. The only question mark was how many rounds the judges could find to give to Nietes. In the end, not many. The scores were 120-108, 18-110 and 117-111, giving Ioka a clear decision win, and revenge for his 2018 loss. It was however a bout that left the question marks about the future of both men. Nietes looks like a man who needs to consider retirement, whilst Ioka seemed to have lost a clear step or two and wouldn't be favoured, or even regarded as evens, against any of the other top 115lbs fighters on the planet right now.
The final world title bout of 2018 saw a new WBO Super Flyweight world champion being crowned as Filipino Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23) shocked the gamblers and took a split decision win over Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13) [井岡一翔] in a brilliant technical match up between two fantastic fighters who fought evenly through out a captivating contest. Not only was it a captivating contest, but it was one fought at such a high skill level that both men showed off technical mastery like so few bouts we've seen this year.
Nietes took the early lead. He was countering well and making the most of the opportunities Ioka was giving him by fighting on the inside. It was brilliant work from Nietes to land the sharper, cleaner, more accurate shots. The early success of Nietes forced Ioka on to the outside.
Boxing at range Ioka had a lot of success in the middle rounds, with Nietes slowing down, showing his age and struggling to catch up with Ioka, who seemed to run through the middle rounds with some ease to take the lead.
Ioka's success saw the bout tighten up, a lot, and going into the final rounds it seemed there was everything to play for. The success wasn't dominant, but was clear and it was obvious that fighting at range Ioka could control things, and if he was able to keep up the out put and the movement he should have been able to win.
In the final rounds however Nietes seemed to dig deep, find that extra bit of energy and close the distance. Ioka on the other hand slowed, began to stand his ground more and slow his movement. That allowed Nietes back into the fight, a fight that had seemed to be Ioka's after his strong middle portion of the fight.
With the final 2 rounds being ultra close, pick em rounds if left possibles score of the bout all over the place, potentially from 116-112 either way.
With the bout going the 12 rounds we went to the score cards and unsurprisingly they were split. Each man taking a 116-112 score card in their favour, though the bout was decided by a bizarre 118-110 card for Nietes, a score that would assume the judge had given Nietes every benefit imaginable.
With the 2 judges having Nietes as the winner he now becomes the third Filipino to become a 4 weight champion, the 3rd man to win world titles in each of the 4 lowest weight classes and a sure fire hall of famer. For Ioka there is strong argument to have a rematch, of if Nietes retires a chance at the title when it becomes vacant again.
For us fans this was the technical back and forth we had all anticipated. It wasn't a dramatic FOTY candidate but was a sensational bout, and the perfect way to close out the new year, even if one of the judges was watching something the rest of us wasn't.
Earlier this year we saw the first All-Filipino world title fight in over 90 years, as Jerwin Ancajas defended the IBF Super Flyweight title against Jonas Sultan. On paper that looked a good bout, but ended up never catching a light and being pretty forgettable. Today we had the second all-Filipino world title fight of the year, as Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23) and Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20) traded blows for the WBO Super Flyweight title.
For Nietes the bout saw him looking to become the third 4 weight world champion from the Philippines, following Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, and the third man to win world titles in the sport's 4 lowest weight classes. For Palicte it was a chance to emerge from the shadows of Filipino boxing to become a world champion.
The bout was competitive through out. It matched the incredible skills and boxing IQ of Nietes against the imposing physical size of Palicte. From the off both men had moments, and it was a hard one to score either way with Nietes landing the more consistently offensive, but taking the heavier leather, and being pushed on to the back foot through out the fight. It was also the combinations from Palicte, which rarely landed cleanly, that really caught the eye with numerous shots being thrown with so much power that Nietes found his own gloves smashing into his face.
Nietes' ring craft was amazing. At the age of 36 he he was able to set traps on a regular basis, often luring Palicte into clean right hands, and countering brilliantly. He was however unable to get Palicte's respect and the younger man, a natural Super Flyweight, took shots cleanly and seemed to smile, whilst taking them. It was possibly the regular smirk of Palicte that made Nietes' clean shorts seem unthreatening compared to the glancing blows of his own.
There was very few clean cut bouts through the entire fight. It was often a case of picking a winner of a very close round. One of the few clear cut rounds was round 4, a round that Nietes seemed to take off. On the other hand he clearly won round 5, as he picked up the pace and found a home for his right hand, which landed frequently through a brilliant stanza for the veteran. Another clear round was the final one, which saw Nietes landing several of his most eye catching shots. For the most part however there was very, very, little to pick between the two fighters, and a strong case could be made either way.
The close nature of the rounds seemed to give the feeling that no score was really going to be wrong. Despite the commentary playing a strong pro-Nietes narrative through out, cheer leading the skills of Nietes and giving very little credit to Palicte and his work. That close nature of each round showed on the scorecards which were 116-112, in favour of Palicte, 118-110, for Nietes, and 114-114, giving us a split draw.
The HBO team try to play off that the bout was a robbery, quote the always questionable Compubox as part of their narrative. The reality however is that there was very, very little to split them overall. On a round by round basis, neither man did enough to really assert their self. 118-110 and 116-112, either way, were wide, but a strong case could be argued for either of those cards. In the end however the draw seemed the fairest result and the most accurate.
As a result of the draw he WBO title does remain vacant. A rematch between the two is a real possibility, as would be a bout between either man and the returning Kazuto Ioka, who won on the same card against McWilliams Arroyo who had been the WBO #3 ranked fighter behind Nietes ans Palicte.
The “Superfly” shows are giving fighters from the lower weights a chance to shine on HBO and an international stage that typically they won't have been showcased on. One such fighter shining on “Superfly 2” was IBF Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23), who scored his first defense of the IBF Flyweight title whilst stopping Argentinian veteran Juan Carlos Reveco (39-4, 19), who was making his US debut.
The fight started very competitively, with both men seemingly mirroring each other at times. They looked amazingly well matched and every bit of success one man had seemed to be matched by the other only seconds later. It was high tempo, thoughtful yet brilliant boxing from the off by two high level and respectful practitioner's. Although competitive it seemed like Nietes was slightly sharper, finding the holes a tiny bit more successfully than his foe.
Through the first 4 rounds there was little really to separate them. Nietes probably impressed the judges slightly more, but there fight was so closely contested that from one angle there is a good chance that Reveco was leading.
Despite being a brilliantly fought boxing bout the crowd were growing restless, booing the action and showing a bit of disappointment. It was as if they were expecting a war but were getting a boxing contest.
The boos grew louder in round 5, though it seemed like Nietes was beginning to figure out his man, and in round 6 he began to really up the pace. It was a sign of how good Nietes is as he increased his out put and movement, and began punching between the shots of Reveco, rather than waiting to return fire. It was a wonderful change and gained almost immediate results as he cut the eye of Reveco and badly staggered him right on the bell. The shot, which seemed to land behind the ear, sent Reveco stumbling as he tried to find his corner and the doctor took a look at him. Had the same shot landed just 15 seconds earlier there is a good chance that Reveco would have been stopped before the round was over.
Knowing he had hurt his man in round 6 Nietes went hunting in round 7 and really took it to the Argentinian. Within seconds of the round starting he was caught by a right hand and dropped hard. He got up at 5 but failed to listen to the referee's instructions and the referee, after a few seconds, waved the bout off.
For 5 rounds this was ultra-close and a great example of high quality boxing. From round 6 however Nietes upped the pace and Reveco simply couldn't stay with him. It was a statement win, though said a lot about where both men are. Reveco was once a top fighter, but this is his 3rd loss in 7 fights, and his second stoppage loss in 5. He's not the fighter he once was. Although older Nietes is still the fresher man, having mostly avoided wars, and will likely have another few fights at the top. The Filipino is a technical boxing wizard at times, though at the age of 35, in fact he turns 36 in May, he is old for a Flyweight and may not have that much longer left at the top himself.
Boxing is a sport where technical issues rarely become a major problem, but today technical issues prevented Thairath from showing an IBF Flyweight title bout, with those issues meaning none of the bout was aired in the country, despite a notable amount of publicity and advertising done for the broadcast.
The bout in question saw under-rated Filipino star Donnie Nietes (40-1-4, 22) battle against the unheralded Thai Eaktawan BTU Ruaviking (22-4, 15) [ตะวัน BTU เรือไวกิ้ง]. On paper the bout looked like a simple one for Nietes, a former champion at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight, but the reality is that it was a real work out for the Filipino, who continues to chase his legacy.
During the early moments of the fight the bout was all the Filipino's with Nietes show casing a bit of everything, and using the Thai as a bit of a human punch bag at times. That sort of start was hugely impressive but something that Nietes couldn't do through the full fight, and in round 4 Eaktawan managed to get more success of his own, forcing a closer, tougher fight. That type of fight suited Eaktawan, but he was never able to put Nietes under the pressure that could have made the Filipino veteran unravel.
After a few rounds of more competitive and closer action Nietes started to showcase his abilities again, using his movement to land some meaty shots whilst making Eaktawan flail around, missing some shots wildly. The difference between the two was clear again and Nietes, despite having a bloodied nose, resumed total control to the final round, though did so with a lesser output than he had earlier in the bout.
At the final bell there was no arguments about the winner, with Nietes' being the much better fighter through much of the bout, and being a well deserved winner with scores of 117-11, twice, and 116-112. The score cards suggesting a clear, but tough, win for the Filipino, who becomes just the third Filipino to become a 3 weight champion. Despite the loss for Eaktawan he proved he had the drive, toughness and determination to be a handful and we wouldn't be shocked to see him fighting for a world title again in the future.
This past Saturday Filipino fight fans saw national boxing hero Donnie Nietes (38-1-4, 22) continue his lengthy, and excellent, reign as the WBO Light flyweight.
The often over-looked Filipino was in the ring against former world champion Raul Garcia (38-4-1, 23) but made it look like he was in against a real novice.
From the opening stages Garcia was out boxed, out fought and out moved. The domination from Nietes was making Garcia look clueless, well before the Mexican was dropped, twice, in round 3. From then on it seemed less a case of "who would win" and more a case of "how long, would Garcia last?"
As it turned out the Mexican would only last until the end of round 5 when he corner finally pulled him out of the bout, giving him his first stoppage loss in 43 bouts, and giving Nietes his second win over a member of the Garcia-Hirales family, having previously beaten Raul's twin brother Ramon.
(Image courtesy of boxingscene.com)
This past Saturday was an historic night for Filipino boxing as the sensational Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) finally made his US debut and did so with a win as he over-came the very limited but very tough Juan Alejo (21-4, 13) and retained his WBO Light Flyweight title.
From the open bell to the final round Nietes looked world class, out boxing, out fighting and controlling hi Mexican foe who was cut early in the bout yet never once looked like caving in. Despite the desire from Alejo he was, at times, little more than a heavy bag for Nietes who had the chance to try what he wanted in a session that resembled target practice for the talented, though smaller Nietes.
Come the final bell there was no doubting the winner with the Filipino posting a near shut out. losing just a single round on two of the cards.
Sadly whilst Nietes was thoroughly impressive in terms of his performance he did lack the stoppage that he would likely have wanted, saying that though it would have taken something very special to stop Alejo who came out looking like a great test for fighters coming through the ranks, though is far from a world class fighter and probably shouldn't be given another shot at a world title. Saying that however we all know how boxing works and it'd be no shock to see him get another shot in the next few years, at least if he can string together a few wins of note.
Over the last few years the lower weight classes have given us some of the best fights. We got another of those earlier today as WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (36-1-4, 21) successfully defended his title in a 12 round war with tough Mexican Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-3-1, 11).
The first minute of the fight was slow, really slow. From then on however the action picked up and by the end of the opening stanza it seemed we may have been heading towards a FOTY contender. The action was forced by Rodriguez, who kept coming forward, and Neites responded by holding his feet and going toe-to-toe with the Mexican, landing some very sharp and accurate shots.
In the second round we saw real drama as Nietes, who had looked great for the first 2 minutes, was tagged by a right hand. The shot seemed to stun him for a second or two as he was forced to hold on and see out the round that could easily have been stolen from him. The effects of the shots at the end of round 2 seemed to still be taking their toll early in round 3 as Nietes began to fight on the back foot and no get dragged into a relentless brawl with the Mexican. The round was one of the bouts closest and could have gone either way.
Nietes's stemmed the tide slightly in round 4 as he began finding his range and timing Rodriguez with counters. The Mexican kept bringing the pressure though he seemed to struggle to actually land much in turned of punches whilst Nietes managed to get to the body of the challenger. It was a tough round for Nietes but one that he seemed to just win.
Through 4 rounds the fight was close though in the 5th round it seemed that the Filipino changed his tactics, began to move more and draw Rodriguez on to his shots. It was an excellent change from the experienced champion who quickly found a home for his uppercut which landed almost at will through out the round. It was a shot that made the most of Rodriguez's flaws and seemed to take some of the fight out of the challenger who was again second best in the 6th round.
Going into the second half of the fight it seemed like Nietes was going to run away with it though the Mexican managed to fight back well in round 7 and again in round 8 as the Mexican found a second wind and kept the rounds ultra-competitive. It was hard work for both and it was being fought at a gruelling pace with Rodriguez refusing to take a backwards step and Neites being forced to fight fire with fire.
The pace of the fight began to take it's toll on both men in round 9 with both visibly slowing and tiring. Despite the place slowing the level of skill on offer was still high and both had their moments with combinations and eye catching shots. Unfortunately for the Mexican however it seemed he was in a hole and was going to need to do a lot to turn things around. The challenger tried in round 10 though Neites managed to find the space to get his jab going, the energy to get on his toes and do enough to just nick a close round, though one that could easily have swung the other way.
Nietes began round 11 boxing on the back foot and having real success with his counters whilst Rodriguez's face began to look more and more swollen. The Mexican proved his toughness by continuing to come forward but for 2 minutes of the round he was second best. The final minute however saw the round swing with Nietes getting hurt with a body shot and going on the retreat whilst holding and spoiling. It was a round that could have gone either way though seemed to suggest that Nietes could be in trouble in the final round.
Going into the final round it was clear that Rodriguez would need a KO to win, he had made a lot of rounds close but as the visitor, and challenger, it was unlikely that he was going to get those rounds in his favour. Unfortunately for him he seemed to have the fight take out of him as Neites caught him early in the round and appeared to leave him with a broken nose. From then on the two did little other than move around each other until Rodriguez came forward very late in the round, by then however it was too little too late.
Given the fact there had been numerous close rounds we were expecting a series of “close but competitive” looking cards in favour of the Filipino. Sadly however only one card showed the competitive nature of the bout as the judges cards read 115-113, 119-109 and 118-110. They had all got the right guy winning, but at least two of those cards failed to show any real fairness of the bout we had witnessed.
The win for Nietes cements his position as one of the top Light Flyweights on the planet, the question however is where does he go next? There is talk of a move to Flyweight for a potential clash with Roman Gonzalez however unification bouts with Pedro Guevara, Ryoichi Taguchi and Javier Mendoza would also being attractive match ups, as would an all-Filipino contest with the hard hitting Jonathan Taconing.
As for Rodriguez we hope to see him back in the ring as soon as his nose recovers, though maybe at a lower level as he's had a lot of gruelling fights in recent times and his body needs an easy fight or two before another fight at the championship level. We also expect to see him move up to Flyweight sooner rather than later.
The main event of Pinoy Pride XXX saw WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (35-1-4, 21) successfully retain his crown with a stoppage win over the tough but outclassed Mexican challenger Gilberto Parra (19-3, 17)
The fight started fast with Nietes taking the action to the Mexican challenger in the opening round. Parra tried his best to fight back but was looking out classed with Nietes fighting in a “seek and destroy” mode. It wasn't the usual start to a Nietes fight but it was fun and exciting with the champion out to make a statement.
The aggressiveness of Nietes continued in the second round when he seemed to hurt Parra who did well to see out the storm but offered little in return, despite Nietes giving him more openings than we'd typically see Nietes give an opponent. It was as if Nietes had no respect of the much vaunted power of Parra and then Mexican was doing little to make Nietes respect him.
In round 3 we saw Nietes come close again to dropping Parra who narrowly avoided a monster right hand from the champion who was intent on giving the fans a show, though they were quieter than we were expecting considering the domination of their man.
To his credit however Parra was taking the blows, for the most part, well and although he ate a big combination in round 4 he did begin to fight back a bit more and then a bit more in round 5. It was if Parra was slowly waking up to the fact he was in a world title fight.
Parra had his best round in the 6th when he landed some solid body shots on the Filipino and then a huge left hook upstairs. For his success Parra was punished and had to take a left to the mid-section that seemed to discomfort him for a second. It was the first truly competitive round of the fight.
Nietes responded well in round 7 and started to use his experience and skills to make Parra look second rate. This ended the mini-fight back of the challenger who was unable to get around the jab of the champion and was on the retreat for the most part.
In the 8 Parra started to show ambition again, at least early in the round. Nietes however seemed to sense the end was nigh and landed a monster right hand that dropped Nietes hard. The Mexican recovered to his feet but then preceded to run away, avoiding all danger until the bell saved him, and earned him a minutes respite. Prior to the knockdown it had been a good round for Parra but not good enough to avoid the 10-8 following the knockdown.
The knockdown appeared to destroy the confidence of the challenger who was on his toes early in round 9. Even being negative didn't help Parra who took another solid right that left him with a nasty cut on the left eye. The cut was a bad one but Parra saw out the round, doing as best he could to avoid a fight with the champion.
Parra got his wish between rounds 9 and 10 as he was stopped on his tool. A merciful decision but the right one for a man who had tried in the middle rounds but been thoroughly beaten, maybe managing to claim just a round from the 9 that had been completed.
We're now hoping to see Nietes move onto a fight with former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr in the summer. That's going to be a much better fight than this one if it gets made. Sadly this always seemed like a mismatch and although Parra had his moments they were few and far between.
(Image courtesy of abs-cbn.com)
In today's main event on the ALA promoted "Pinoy Pride 28" card local fans saw one of their boxing hero's, Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) record the 5th defense of his WBO Light Flyweight title defense and his 9th total world title defense.
Nietes was battling against Mexico's Carlos Velarde (26-4-1, 14) and unfortunately the bout was a total mismatch, much like many had expected.
The opening round was slow, to say the least, with the fighters being told early on to refrain from clinching by referee Robert Byrd. It seemed at the time as if we may have a stinker on our hands. Thankfully the bout warmed up in round 3 as Velarde was forced to change his tactics slightly and come forward more. With Velarde finally letting his hands go Nietes began to take advantage landing crisp counters through the round.
The bout continue to get better in round 4 as the men stood up close and traded shots in a more exciting manner. It wasn't the most thrilling action of the show but it was becoming better and Nietes was beginning to take total control of the fight with his crisper punching and more rounded boxing.
Nietes control continued to grow in round 5 and by the end of the round it seemed to be a question of how long Velarde could survive as the Filipino began to let his punches go with more fluency than he had in the first 4 rounds. Velarde was beginning to shut down both mentally and physically and in round 6 he was looking tired, trying to take breaks on the ropes, a tactic that he was punished for by Nietes.
In round 7 Nietes again stepped on the pace and came forward. As he did so he seemed to hurt the Mexican who complained about a headbutt, the complaint was ignored by the Filipino who continued to attack. Soon afterwards it was apparent that Velarde was bleeding from the eye and he seen made it clear he was unhappy.
Following the the 7th round Velarde retired in his corner, giving Nietes his third successive stoppage. For Nietes however the win was more important than the manner of it and he'll now break the record for the longest reigning Filipino world champion breaking the record previously held by the great Flash Elorde.
It's expected that Nietes will now vacate the title and make the move to Flyweight however Mexico's Francisco Rodriguez Jr, who was on the undercard, has shown serious interest in a fight with Nietes who may well view a possible Rodriguez clash as the better send off to the division than this contest, especially given that Rodriguez really struggled in his bout on the same card.
(Image courtesy of rappler.com)
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.