Report/photos by Nick Giongco
Donne Nietes of the Philippines retained his WBO light-flyweight crown late Saturday night in Manila via a brutal ninth-round stoppage of mandatory Mexican challenger Moises Fuentes. Nietes floored Fuentes down three times and referee Robert Byrd stepped in with four seconds remaining in the ninth canto. Fuentes absorbed an overhand Nietes right that produced the first knockdown and the Filipino was penalized for hitting the Mexican when he was already on all fours. But Nietes, who later apologized for the infraction, pounced on the hurt Fuentes and scored another knockdown courtesy of his vaunted right hand. Byrd still allowed the fight to continue but another Nietes right decked him again. This time, Byrd did not even bother to administer the count. Nietes and Fuentes had battled to a draw the first time they met in 2013.
“This time I was able to show my power and skills,” said Nietes, who is looking to make a voluntary defense in September. His next goal is to become the first Filipino to defeat Juan Francisco Estrada, who has victimized Brian Viloria, Milen Melindo and Richie Mepranum.
Nietes’ chief handler, ALA Boxing big boss Michael Aldeguer, said the victory was “a defining moment not only for Nietes but for Philippine boxing.
There are only two current Filipino world boxing champions at the moment: Nietes and Manny Pacquiao.
Last March, Nietes’ stablemate Merlito Sabillo lost his WBO minimumweight title in Mexico and just recently, Johnreil Casimero was stripped of the IBF light-fly crown for failing t make the limit in his defines against Mauricio Fuentes of Colombia.
Before mauling Fuentes, Nietes had scored a smashing knockout win over another Mexican, Sammy Gutierrez, in November last year.