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Freeman Cebu Sports

Nietes all pumped up for WBO title defense

Lemuel P. Maglinte - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - ALA Boxing Gym star Donnie "Ahas" Nietes (37-1, 21KOs) vows to deliver an impressive performance in his WBO light flyweight title defense against former Mexican titlist Raul ‘Rayito’ Garcia (33-3, 23KOs) in the main event of "Pinoy Pride 36: A Legend in the Making" fightcard on May 28 at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod City.

The longest reigning Filipino world boxing champion  is expecting a tough challenge against Garcia, whose twin brother Ramon he defeated via unanimous decision for the same belt five years ago at the very same fight grounds.

“More likely that he (Raul) has the same style as his brother,” said Nietes in a press conference yesterday at The Social in Ayala Center Cebu. “I had a hard time against his brother (Ramon) when we fought because I am not that mentally prepared, but this time I will be more ready.”

    The former WBO and IBF minimumweight champion Garcia hasn’t tasted a knockout loss in his entire career, but the ALA star plans to be the first boxer to do that.

 “I want a knockout and I will look for a knockout,” said the pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental.

    The 33-year-old Nietes has already reached the pinnacle of success being a two-division world champion, but admitted that he is still hungry for more glory and honor.

    He even expressed his desire to move up the flyweight division and face double WBO/WBA champ Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico.

    “I want to continue to win not only for me but to my countrymen especially to the young Filipino athletes. I want them to be inspired in giving honor to the Philippines,” he said. “I am ready to move to flyweight. I am open for a fight against (Juan Francisco) Estrada.”

   In the supporting bout, former two-time world title challenger Milan "El Metodico" Melindo (33-2, 12KOs) is aching for  revenge against former world champion Javier 'Cobra" Mendoza (24-3-1, 19KOs) in a rematch.

    Melindo suffered a controversial sixth round technical decision to Mendoza during their IBF light flyweight championship bout on May 30 last year at the Campo Nuevo Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico.

    “This time, it will be different. I got the crowd behind me and I am very excited to fight him again and I am confident that I can beat him convincingly,” said Melindo.

Being an eliminator for the IBF throne currently held by Japan's Akira Yaegashi, Melindo said he will surely give his best shot as a win against Mendoza will give him another crack at the coveted world crown.

 In another attraction, ‘King' Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14KOs) takes on another dangerous Mexican champion in Juan Jimenez (22-9, 15KOs) in a 10-round non-title bout under the super flyweight division. (FREEMAN)

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