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Sports

It’s not over for Nietes

Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Former four-division world champion Donnie Nietes isn’t hanging up his gloves after losing a unanimous 12-round decision to defending WBO superflyweight champion Kazuto Ioka in Tokyo last Wednesday. Nietes, 40, is coming home today and after taking a rest, will head back to the gym to prepare for his next battle.

Nietes said his manager Ahmed Seddiqi of D46 Promotions is arranging a fight, likely in Dubai, before the year ends. “’Di nakapunta si Ahmed sa laban pero tumawag siya pagkatapos,” he said. “Bahala si Ahmed kung kailan ako lalaban uli. Two years ang kontrata namin at may isang taon pa kami.”

Nietes beat Ioka on a split 12-round verdict in Macau four years ago but in the rematch, he conceded defeat. “Nagbago ang style ni Ioka,” he said. “Umiwas siya, natakot sa counter ko kaya sa labas lumaban at tumakbo. ‘Di ko mahuli. First time ko lumaban sa Japan pero ‘di ako nanibago. Mas may pressure kung ang laban sa hometown ko. ‘Di ako kontento sa aking performance. Kulang ako sa puntos, kulang sa pressure.”

Nietes suffered cuts over both eyebrows. Ioka opened a small gash on Nietes’ right eyebrow in the middle rounds and a deep wound above his left eye with a right hook in the 10th. Nietes said an overhand right stunned Ioka in the seventh and a right uppercut also caught his attention in the ninth.

Nietes’ coach Edmund Villamor said he accepted the decision but disagreed with the wide margins. Judge Waleska Roldan scored it a shutout, 120-108 while judge William Lerch saw it 117-111 and judge Gerardo Martinez 118-110, all for Ioka. The official WBO fight report noted that it was a “complete domination by Ioka.” Nietes took his first loss in 18 years, snapping an unbeaten string of 37 bouts. Neither fighter was in danger of falling as Ioka controlled the action with a stiff left jab, keeping away from Nietes who failed in cutting off the ring to pin down his opponent.

WBO

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