DONNIE Nietes still sees himself competitive and capable of winning a title even after going up in weight for his September 24 fight at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The 34-year-old native of Murcia, Negros Occidental has relinquished his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight title as a first step in his bid to face reigning WBO and World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight king Juan Estrada.
He battles former World Boxing Council (WBC) light-flyweight title holder Edgar Sosa in his debut at 112 lbs. as he fights in the U.S. for the second time next month.
“Mas komportable ako ngayong nag-train na ako sa mas mataas na timbang. Kasi kahit naman nung 108 lbs. pa ako, nakikipag-training na ako sa mga mas malalaki sa akin,” said Nietes, the longest reigning Filipino world champion.
“Tingin ko mas magandang timbang ito para sa akin.”
A former world minimumweight champion, Nietes began terrorizing the light-flyweight division in 2011 when he beat Ramon Garcia Hirales to capture the vacant WBO championship.
He successfully defended the crown nine times before deciding to go up in weight and pursue a big money fight against Estrada.
“Paniwala ko, tapos na ako sa 108 division. Wala ng iba pang kalaban para sa akin,” said the top fighter of the Cebu-based ALA boxing gym.
“Gusto kong kalabananin yung mga malalaking pangalan,” he added. “I want to go after the other world champions. One world champion at a time.”
Nietes (38-1-4, with 22 KOs) last defended the WBO light-flyweight crown three months ago in Bacolod City, scoring a fifth round stoppage of Raul Garcia.
For the Sosa fight, Nietes said he has began training two weeks ago and expects to be in tip-top shape against his 36-year-old opponent.
Like any other Mexican, Sosa, Nietes said, is a tough fighter (52-9, 30 KOs), who has a vast ring experience.
“Mexicano yan, so ibig sabhin matibay. Former champion yan at nakalaban na halos lahat ng magagaling sa (flyweight) division,” he said of Sosa, currently rated No. 4 in the world by the WBC.