THE longest-reigning Filipino world champion, Donnie Nietes, will make his 2015 debut with another title defense on Philippine soil.
Nietes makes the sixth defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight belt on March 28 at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Manila.
“Donnie will be fighting in Manila at the MOA Arena in March 28 instead of Macau. We plan to do a huge card in Manila,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu.
Aldeguer believes that this will be the biggest ALA Promotions show, thus far, if it goes according to plan.
Nietes just broke the 47-year-old record set by the late great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde as the longest reigning Filipino world champion. The 32-year-old two-division world champion had a banner year in 2014, beating one of the best in the division in Moises Fuentes and Carlos Velarde.
After fighting mostly Mexicans, Aldeguer said that Nietes’ upcoming fight would be different.
“It’s a voluntary title defense. We are looking at someone from Asia. Maybe a Japanese ranked fighter as boxing in Japan recently is doing well.
Donnie has been fighting a lot of Mexican fighters already so maybe this time an opponent from Asia as boxing has become more popular because of China,” he said.
There are six Asians ranked in the top 15 of WBO light flyweight division – three Filipinos, two Thais and a Japanese.
Ranked No. 2 is unbeaten Thai Paipharob Kokietgym (27-0, 20 KOs), No. 7 is Filipino Jonathan Taconing (20-2-1, 17 KOs), No. 10 is Japanese Yu Kimura (15-2-1, 2 KOs), No.
11 is Filipino former world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20 KOs), No. 14 is Thai Petchchorhae Kokietgym (10-0, 7 KOs) and No. 15 is Filipino Benezer Alolod (16-5-5, 5 KOs).
After this title defense, Aldeguer believes that Nietes will stay at light flyweight for a few more fights and will try out the 112-pound division, only staying there for the big fights.
“Maybe two more (fights) but it really depends after he tests the waters in a non-title fight as it’s never easy to go up in weight,” said Aldeguer.
“We won’t rush on a decision to go up if there’s no clear direction for Donnie to fight Juan (Francisco) Estrada or Roman Gonzalez. If we can’t get those fights then it’s useless for Donnie to go up to 112.”