DONNIE Nietes already has a hall-of-fame worthy career—a two-division world champion, the longest reigning Filipino world titleholder and a lineal world champion in the light flyweight division.
The 34-year-old janitor-turned-boxing star, however, is far from done. He’s hungry for more. He wants to push himself even further by taking on the best 112-pounders and dominate the flyweight division.
“I’m here to announce my move to the flyweight division,” Nietes said in yesterday’s press launch of Pinoy Pride 38 - “Philippines vs. Mexico” in the Waterfront Hotel and Casino. “My goal is to fight the big names, There is nothing left for me at the light flyweight division. I want to challenge the champions in the flyweight division.”
Nietes’ first fight at flyweight won’t be a walk in the park, though, as he will take on a very experienced former world title-holder in Edgar Sosa, rated fourth in the World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight ranks, on Sept. 24 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Nietes was supposed to take on World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight king Juan Francisco Estrada in a dream match. But the 26-year-old Mexican banger chose a mandatory fight with Kazuto Ioka instead.
ALA Promotions had lined up a list of prospective opponents that included former world champions Giovani Segura, Hernan “Tyson” Marquez, Javier Mendoza and Sosa. Nietes handpicked Sosa, a former WBC light flyweight champion that has beaten the likes of Brian Viloria, Ulises Solis and Segura.
“Sosa is a world-caliber fighter. Donnie chose Sosa. If our target is Estrada then he has to dominate Sosa to prove that he’s ready for the flyweight division,” said ALA Gym head trainer Edito Villamor.
If Nietes and Estrada are victorious in their respective fights, both boxing stars will face off early next year.
Nietes has been sparring against bigger and heavier opponents in his preparation for his flyweight debut, the likes of bantamweights Arthur Villanueva and Jess Rhey Waminal, and super flyweights Kenneth Gentallan, Raul Yu and Jonas Sultan.
“We want the power, speed and timing to still be there in the heavier weight division,” said Edmund Villamor.
If Nietes’ plan of dominating the flyweight division becomes a reality, like what he has done in the light flyweight and minimumweight divisions, then he aims to reach his ultimate goal, a fight with pound-for-pound king Roman Gonzalez.
“Soon. If I have already established myself as a flyweight then I will move up and follow him.”