WORLD Boxing Organization (WBO) mini-flyweight king Donnie Nietes is one of the most underrated Filipino world champions.

But despite being overshadowed by his more renowned peers, he still continues to bring glory to the Philippines.

Most people, aside from the hardcore boxing fans, don’t know Nietes, the boxer whose moniker is “Ahas.” Despite that, Nietes has done quite an achievement.

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He is the longest-reigning world champion among the current Filipino world champions and fifth among the all-time list of longest reigning Filipino world champions. He is also the only Filipino world champion to win back-to-back fights in Mexico, which is a rare feat.

The 28-year-old former janitor of the ALA Gym is looking to complete another tough accomplishment in the hopes of finally gaining the respect he deserves.

“If he wins, he will be the only Filipino to win three title defenses in Mexico,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said in the sendoff party of Nietes last Tuesday at the Sugbahan restaurant. “He is one of the fighters who have what it takes but he hasn’t been given the respect he deserves.”

Nietes is scheduled for his fourth world title defense against Mario “Dragoncito” Rodriguez on Aug. 14 in Mexico.

Nietes won back-to-back world title defenses in Mexico last year against Erik Ramirez and Manuel Vargas, both via decisions.

“I’m proud of myself because even if my fights were in Mexico, I still won,” said Nietes.

Aside from winning his third world title defense in Mexico, Nietes plans on becoming the longest reigning Filipino world champion.

Nietes is currently at fifth place behind Ben Villaflor, who held the World Boxing Association featherweight crown from Oct. 17, 1973 to Oct. 16, 1976, a day shy of a three-year reign.

With a win next month and he will be close to surpassing Villaflor’s feat. He has held the WBO mini-flyweight strap since Sept. 30, 2007 after beating Porsawan Porpramook for the vacant title.

Boxing hall-of-famer Gabriel “Flash” Elorde holds the record of being the longest reigning Filipino world champion, holding the World Boxing Council featherweight belt for seven years and three months.

Nietes is scheduled to leave for the US this Sunday. He will be training at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for the fight that could earn him the recognition that has long been overdue.