Donnie 'Ahas' Netes
Nietes, Ioka both eyeing their place in history
Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - December 31, 2018 - 12:00am

On New Year's Eve

CEBU, Philippines — Filipino ring star Donnie 'Ahas' Netes (41-1-5, 23KOs) of Cebu's fabled ALA Gym and Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13KOs) of Japan are both seeking for their place in history as they figure in a 12-round rumble for the vacant WBO super flyweight belt today at the Wynn Palace Cotai in Macao, China.

Both three-division world champions, Nietes and Ioka are chasing after their fourth world crown in a different weight class in what is perceived by some as an exciting match-up that will most likely put a superb ending to what has been a great year of boxing.

The 36-year-old Nietes, who once held court in the WBO minimumweight and light flyweight and IBF flyweight divisions, made his first tshot in a fourth weight category against fellow countryman Ashton Palicte in the third all-Pinoy world championship bout last September 9 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

The match ended up in a controversial split draw, but many believed Nietes clearly won and was robbed of victory by the judges.

That is the main reason why the WBO, during its annual convention two months ago, has given the legendary warrior from Murcia, Negros Occidental another chance to fulfill his dream of joining the ranks of Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. as the only Philippine fighters to have won four world titles in different weight classes.

"That is really my goal. I know he's a tough opponent but I am up for the challenge," said Nietes. "I will just give my best shot to fulfill my dream of becoming a four-division world champion."

Driven by the same motivation as Nietes, Ioka also wants to etch his name in stone as the first four-division titlist in the annals of Japanese boxing.

Ioka, who trained under the wings of renowned Cuban coach Ismael Salas, looks at Nietes as a formidable foe but in the same breath expressed his determination to accomplish his mission at all cost.

"I came to Macao to be able to consummate my great goal in order to make a new historic chapter of Japanese boxing glory," Ioka said in a report by Hisao Adachi of

"I understand more than enough that Donnie Nietes is a dangerous opponent who possesses excellent technique with defense, who knows how to punch without being hit. For me, it will be a very difficult and uncomfortable fight, but I have faith in gaining the victory with my kind of fight by boxing clever, with a clever strategy and making adjustments as the contest plays out." (FREEMAN)

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