Freeman Cebu Sports

Nietes excited on flyweight debut

Lemuel P. Maglinte - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Donnies "Ahas" Nietes, the longest reigning Filipino world boxing champion, embarks on a new chapter in his storied career as he makes his flyweight debut against ex-world titlist Edgar Sosa of Mexico headlining the third Pinoy Pride event of ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports in the United States set for September 24 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Before his most recent title defense against former world champion Raul “Rayito” Garcia in his hometown Bacolod City last May, Nietes has already decided to move up in weight.

“I was ready to leave the light flyweight division before (fighting) Garcia. I was thinking he would be my last opponent at 108lbs. The next thing I did was to ask my manager and promoter and I am very glad they granted my request,” said the fighting pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental.

Although it comes with a great challenge, the 34-year-old Nietes is also excited at the prospect of becoming a three-division world champion someday.

 "Yes, and I’m very excited. I get a lot of positive comments from the people who’ve waited for this move and it gives me so much encouragement. But I want to be very prepared too, that’s why I’ve decided to train earlier. I want to give a great fight as I make my 112-lb. debut," he said.

Nietes (38-1-4, 22KOs) successfully defended his WBO light flyweight belt nine times since winning it in 2011. Recognized as a WBO Super Champion, he was also awarded with The Ring lineal title in March 2015.

As a flyweight, Nietes is going after the big names with no less than WBO/WBA champion Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico in his radar. He was supposed to fight Estrada this September but the megabout fizzled was postponed to next year after ALA Promotions failed to strike a deal with Zanfer Promotions.

"I want to fight bigger names. I am very lucky to have a manager and promoter who believe in what I can do and they have always supported me. But I believe I’m done with the 108 division. There’s no one else for me. I want to go after the other world champions out there. One world champion at a time, but I want to fight more if I can," said Nietes.

"I feel much more comfortable now that I’ve started training in a bigger weight. I mean, even when I was fighting for 108lbs, I was training with bigger fighters. I think this is a much better weight for me. There’s not a lot of adjustments, but there’s more room for improvement. I want to be a better fighter still," he added.

Against Sosa, Nietes vows to give all his best in his acid test in a heavier weight class.

 "He’s Mexican. That means he is a tough fighter. From the beginning, Mexicans have proven they are one of the best kinds there is. He’s a former world champion, current WBC #4 in the world, and he’s fought some of the best in his division, which is new to me. I will be sure not to let my guard down and pour all what we’ve trained for, because I know this won’t be an easy first (flyweight) fight for me," said Nietes.

Now that a new task is at hand, Nietes vows to accomplish even greater things as he longs for more success in his career.

"I just want the people to know there’s a lot left in me. I feel great with my new weight. As a boxer, I still want to do and accomplish so much," Nietes said. (FREEMAN)

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