Nietes moves up

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Top Sports - NIETES,11

DON­NIE Nietes takes on a new chal­lenge and plans to add an­other mile­stone to his al­ready il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer, as he of­fi­cially moves up to the su­per fly­weight divi­sion in search of his fourth divi­sion world ti­tle.

“To­day, I have made my de­ci­sion to move up to 115 and va­cate my IBF (In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion) fly­weight world ti­tle. This is the chal­lenge that I have been wait­ing for. To go up in weight is never easy, but this is my dream, to be­come a four-divi­sion world cham­pion, and to fight all the big names at su­per fly­weight,” Nietes said in a press con­fer­ence at St. Mark Hotel, an­nounc­ing his move to the stacked su­per fly­weight divi­sion.

The 35-year-old Neites is now rated No. 1 by the WBO in the su­per fly­weight divi­sion. The ti­tle is cur­rently va­cant af­ter Ja­panese su­per star Naoya Inoue re­lin­quished it to move up to the ban­tamweight class.

“There is still no man­date,” said ALA Gym head trainer Edito Vil­lamor. “We will fol­low the WBO’s man­date.” The pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios for Nietes are ei­ther he’ll be di­rectly fight­ing for the va­cant crown against the high­est avail­able rated fighter or he’ll be fight­ing for an elim­i­na­tor.

Rated No. 2 by the WBO is Filipino prospect As­ton Pal­icte.

For­mer pound­for-pound king Ro­man “Cho­co­latito” Gon­za­lez is ranked No. 3 and McWil­liams Ar­royo is rated No. 4. But if it were up to Nietes, he’s al­ready de­cided on who he wants to fight next.

“I re­ally want to fight

Cho­co­latito. It has al­ways been my dream to fight him,” said Nietes, a for­mer WBO min­i­mumweight, WBO light fly­weight and IBF fly­weight cham­pion. “I think Cho­co­latito still has it. It just so hap­pened that his style fit the style of the Thai (Srisaket Sor Rungvi­sai).”

Nietes in­tro­duced him­self to the main­stream US au­di­ence af­ter an im­pres­sive sev­enth round knock­out of two-divi­sion world ti­tle­holder Juan Car­los Reveco in one of the main fea­tured fights of the block­buster “Su­per Fly” show last Feb. 24 at the Fo­rum in In­gle­wood, Cal­i­for­nia.

Though most would say that Nietes is small for the 115-pound divi­sion, his long­time coach Ed­mund Vil­lamor be­lieves oth­er­wise and thinks that he could beat some of the divi­sion’s elite.

“Don­nie still fights like a young fighter. He hasn’t changed at all. I truly be­lieve that he’ll be a world cham­pion (at su­per fly­weight),” he said.

Now that he’s of­fi­cially a su­per fly­weight, Nietes wants all the big fights out there, and that in­cludes World Box­ing Coun­cil (WBC) su­per fly­weight cham­pion Rungvi­sai.

“I re­ally want to fight all the champions at 115. If they chal­lenge me, I will never back down.” (EKA)


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