Donnie Nietes

Nietes stakes WBO crown


Cebu City—Donnie “Ahas” Nietes faces his toughest challenge yet when he stakes his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight title tonight against dangerous Mexican Moises Fuentes at the Waterfront Hotel and casino.

The 30-year-old Nietes is defending his 108-lbs crown for the second time, but will be up against a challenger who once reigned as world minimumweight champion and whose claim to fame was forcing former great Ivan Calderon of Puerto Rico to retire.

The Filipino pride is unimpressed with the credentials of his Mexican opponent, who carries a ring record of 26-1, with 20 knockouts.

“Tingnan na lang natin pagdating sa ring (Let’s see what happens in the ring). Naghanda talaga ako para dito (I am really prepared for this),” said Nietes (31-1, 17 KOs) on Friday shortly after the official weigh-in for the fight at the SM  Cebu Events Centre.

Both Nietes and Fuentes, 27, tipped the scale at 108 lbs. The two will be the featured in the main fight of Pinoy Pride 18 presented by ALA boxing promotions and ABS-CBN Sports.

Fuentes’ bid for a second world crown is boosted by the presence of former world champion Marco Antonio Barrera, whose brother Jorge, is the handler of the Mexican challenger.

Barrera, who lost twice to Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, admitted the 12-round fight is going to be tough for the one-time WBO minimumweight title holder, but said Fuentes is coming here “with a lot of hunger.”

“Everything is possible, but he (Fuentes) prepared good for this fight,” said Barrera.

Fuentes, the man who forced Calderon, a Future Hall of Famer, into retirement after a fifth round technical knockout in October last year to retain his 105-lbs. belt, acknowledges Nietes is the best fighter in the light-flyweight division today.

“My motivation is to show who is the best. To be the best you’ve got to beat the best,” said the native of Mexico City.

Nietes successfully defended his title last year with a 12-round unanimous decision of another Mexican in Felipe Salguero.