NEGRENSE world boxing champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes said the recognitions he has received as World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight titlist gave him more reasons to win and inspire more Filipino boxers.

Nietes (35-1-4, 21 KOs) will face Mexican challenger Francisco Rodriguez (17-2-1, 11 KOs) on July 11 in Cebu City.

The title defense was first set July 4, but it has been moved a week later after Rodriguez suffered a minor ankle injury during his training.

The 33-year-old Murcia-born titlist last defended his title against Mexican Gilberto Parra.

Nietes, who is extending his reign as the longest Filipino champion, said he’s very happy to keep his belt and further rule the junior lightweight division.

He also thanked all his fans and supporters as well as ALA Promotions for the opportunity to give pride and honor to the Philippines. He also got awards from the Ring Magazine and Elorde Boxing.

WBO minimum weight champion Rodriguez has already shown interest to challenge Nietes late last year following his draw against Filipino Jomar Fajardo in a match in Cebu.

The 21-year-old Mexican champion also dethroned Merlito“Tiger”Sabillo of Bacolod early last year in a 10th round technical knockout. He also defeated Japanese Katsunari Takayama via unanimous decision.(HGD)