Donnie Nietes eyes comeback in Japan at 41

Donnie Nietes
Donnie Nietes

LONGEST reigning Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes is planning on a ring comeback at age 41.

“I’m just training and sweating it out,” Nietes told SunStar Cebu. “If young fighters are willing to fight me, then I’ll be forced to make a comeback.”

Nietes last saw action in 2022. He challenged World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight king Kazuto Ioka and lost by unanimous decision in Tokyo, Japan.

Despite the two-year layoff, Nietes is confident that he still has a lot left in his tank.

“I think I still have it. I still move the same, I just lack the stamina, for now,” he said.

Nietes is currently training in Japan under the guidance of former pro pug and Japan-based Filipino trainer Rey Orais at his Burning Heart Gym. He’s been in Japan since Feb. 11, 2022.

Nietes has been receiving a lot of interest from Japanese promoters, which includes Masayuki Ito’s Treasure Boxing Promotion.

“They (Treasure Boxing Promotion) haven’t given me a formal offer. I think they will give me a tune-up first before giving me a contract to sign,” said Nietes. “That’s not concrete yet because maybe other Japanese promoters will show interest. But it all depends on the offer. He (Orais) has been a huge help to me here in Japan. He introduced me to almost all of the promoters here in Japan.”

Nietes will most likely make his ring return on June or July.

Nietes already has a hall of fame-worthy career, wherein he won four titles in four different weight classes. He also holds the record of being the longest reigning Filipino world champion.

Nietes, who’ll turn 42 years old in May, dominated boxing’s lower weight divisions for more than a decade. He defeated the likes of Pornsawan Porpramook, Manuale Vargas, Jesus Silvestre, Mario Rodriguez, Ramon Garcia, Raul Garcia-Hirales, Francisco Rodriguez Jr., Edgar Sosa, the late Moises Fuentes, Edgar Sosa, Juan Carlos Reveco and Ioka.

Nietes, a former ALA Boy, is 43-2-6 with 23 knockouts.

If Nietes finally decides to call it a career, he wants to become a boxing trainer in Japan.

“I’ll most likely be here in Japan because I’ll be helping a family friend that will be opening a new gym here in Japan,” Nietes said. “That’s what will most likely happen. I’ll become a trainer after I decide to retire.” / EKA


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