DONNIE Nietes gets another crack at a world title when he faces Komgrich Nantapech of Thailand for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown.
The bout, set for 12 rounds, will be held on April 29 in Cebu City as the highlight of the 40th edition of the boxing series ‘Pinoy Pride.’
It will be the second fight of the 34-year-old pride of ALA boxing stable at 112-lbs. since moving up in weight last year. He initially scored a 12-round unanimous decision win against former world champion Edgar Sosa of Mexico at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California.
Nietes said he has already started light training for the fight against Nantapech, currently ranked No. 4 by the IBF.
He added the win over Sosa helped him build his confidence in the flyweight class.
“Scoring my first win over someone (Sosa) who has had his fair share of flyweight dominance was something that helped me realize I made the right decision, and that this was the perfect time for me to step-up,” said Nietes in a press statement.
Nietes once reigned as world minimumweight and junior flyweight champion. It was at 108-lbs class where he really made his mark, defending his title belt nine straight times from 2011 to 2016.
A victory by Nietes (39-1-4, 22 KOs) would make him only the third Filipino fighter to win titles in at least three weight classes outside of the great Manny Pacquiao and Nonito ‘The Flash’ Donaire Jr.
The possible feat is something not lost on him.
“I’m very happy with the chance of winning a third title at another division is finally within my grasp. I’ve seen a lot throughout my career to prove that this isn’t something every fighters gets a shot at,” said Nietes, who holds the record for the longest reign as a world champion by a Filipino fighter.
Nantapech (22-3, 15 KOs) has won 15 fights in a row, but hasn’t faced an opponent in the caliber of Nietes.
That doesn’t make the Filipino extra confident against his 27-year-old Thai opponent.
“I think he’s someone I should look out for. I’m new in the division and he’s long been in,” said the Filipino. “Thailanders are also tough boxers, so I’ll make sure I’ll give my best come April 29).”
The IBF crown was vacated by Filipino Johnriel Casimero last December to move up in weight.