AFTER Jerwin Ancajas, it’s Donnie Nietes’ turn to take the limelight two weeks from now.
The resident star of Cebu-based ALA boxing stable stakes his International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown against Juan Carlos Reveco of Argentina on Feb. 24 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
The 12-round fight is one of the three headliners in HBO's ‘Super-Flyweight 2’ broadcast alongside the title showdown between reigning champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand against Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada for the World Boxing Council (WBC) super-flyweight belt.
The title defense comes right after Ancajas retained his IBF super-flyweight championship with a 10th-round TKO of Mexican Israel Gonzalez at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Nietes, 35, and his team headed by trainer Edito ‘Ala’ Villamor have been in Los Angeles for almost three weeks now for the Filipino’s first defense of the IBF crown he won last year against Komgrich Nantapech of Thailand.
Already the longest-reigning Filipino world champion of all time, Nietes has been training at the famed Wild Card gym, with help coming from Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
“Yes he (Roach) gives us advice on what to do,” said Villamor in a correspondence with SPIN.ph from California.
Nietes (40-1-4, 22 KOs) does need all the help he can get for the match against Reveco.
The 34-year-old challenger from Malargue, Argentina (39-3, 19 KOs) once reigned as World Boxing Association (WBA) light-flyweight champion and later, flyweight champion, in a career that began in 2004.
He lost his WBA flyweight belt against Kasuto Ioka of Japan in a majority decision in April 2015, and then failed to regain it after a TKO loss to the same Japanese fighter eight months later.
But he earned a shot at Nietes after a 12-round unanimous decision against Nantapech to emerge as the No. 1 challenger for the title.
“Magaling din si Reveco kasi naging two-division WBA champion din siya,” Villamor acknowledged. “Kaya si Donnie hindi rin magkumpiyansa.”
Another Filipino in Brian Viloria will also see action in the other featured match of the triple bill when he battles undefeated Artem Dalakian for the WBA flyweight championship which Ioka vacated last year following his surprise retirement.
Viloria, 37, is seeking to win a fifth world title after previously reigning as WBA and WBO (World Boxing Organization) flyweight king and WBC and IBF light-flyweight title holder. The Fil-Am fighter from Waipahu, Hawaii has a record of 38-5, with 23 KOs.
Dalakian, the 30-year-old fighter from Ukraine, is aiming for his first world title but holds a fearsome record of 15-0, with 11 of them coming by way of knockouts.
Both Nietes and Viloria has been training together at the Wild Card gym, where they got a chance to hook up with Ancajas prior to his fight against Gonzalez.