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Nietes wonât take undefeated Panamanian opponent lightly
Four-division world champion Donnie “Ajas” Nietes (L) spars with his former ALA stablemake Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja at the Villamor Brothers Boxing Gym in Barangay Pagsabungan, Mandaue City. Nietes is prepping up for his ring comeback against the unbeaten Panamanian Orlando Penalba on April 3 at the Caesar’s Palace Dubai in UAE.
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Nietes won’t take undefeated Panamanian opponent lightly

Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - March 2, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  After a very long layoff that saw him out of action for two years and three months, four-division world champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes looks forward to his ring comeback a month from now with renewed vigor and high level of excitement.

“Of course, I’m very excited to fight again. I can’t wait for my ring return,” said Nietes.

The fighting pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental will take on the unbeaten Panamanian champ Orlando Penalba in  the last installment of the three-part “Dubai Fight Series” spearheaded by D4G Promotions in association with Round 10 Boxing Club and MTK Global on April 3 at the Caesar’s Palace Dubai in United Arab Emirates.

Nietes, who will be turning 39 years old on May 12, and Penalba, 27, will clash in a non-title bout scheduled for 10 rounds.

Nietes last fought on New Year’s eve in 2018 when he eked out a split decision victory over three-division world titlist Kazuto Ioka of Japan in one of the finest performances of his career that earned him the WBO super flyweight belt.

But in a surprise move, Nietes vacated his throne in March 2019 to pursue bigger fights against the A-listers in the super flyweight division, targeting the likes of Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua, and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand.

Unfortunately, Nietes failed to strike a deal with any of the trio that year. His plan further hit a snag when ALA Boxing, which authored his awe-inspiring rise from a janitor to one of the greatest Filipino boxers of his generation, closed shop in August last year at the height of the global pandemic.

Nietes eventually hooked up with MTK Global in an attempt to breath new life to his brilliant fistic journey.

Now that he will plunge back to the fight scene, Nietes is unperturbed by his 27-month inactivity because he kept himself in top shape by exercising and working out regularly even during the quarantine period.

“I just have to step up and train doubly hard,” shared Nietes, who is toughening up at the newly-established sweat shop of his trainers, the Villamor brothers Edito and Edmund, located in Barangay Pagsabungan, Mandaue City. “I want to come up with a good performance and show to everyone that nothing has changed in my fighting ability despite my long layoff.”

Nietes, who holds a 42-1-5 record spiked with 23KOs, is ranged against the undefeated but relatively greenhorn Penalba (10-0, 2KOs), the reigning WBO Latino super flyweight crown-holder who hasn’t fought outside of his homeland and turned pro only two years ago.

Armed with vast experience and a far more impressive credentials, Nietes is tipped as the heavy favorite against Penalba but the former ALA star expressly said there’s no way he is going to underestimate his foe.

“I respect each of my opponent,” said Nietes. “I may be confident on my chances but that doesn’t mean I’m going to take him (Penalba) lightly.”

If victorious against Penalba, Nietes said he will use it as a platform to relaunch his mission of setting up a megabuck showdown with any of the top super flyweights out there.

“Yes, that is still my goal - to fight the best of the best in my division. Hopefully I will fulfill it someday,” Nietes ended.

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