DONNIE Nietes hopes to make a lasting impression in his US debut Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time) when he stakes his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight title against dangerous challenger Juan ‘Pinky’ Alejo of Mexico.
The title fight is set for 12 rounds at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The 33-year-old champion from Murcia, Negros Occidental is making the eighth defense of the 108-lbs title he won back in 2011 over Ramon Garcia Hirales.
But this marks the first time Nietes will be fighting before the rich US boxing market, giving him enough motivation to do go against his Mexican challenger from Guadalupe.
“I will give my best in this fight, and if I have the opportunity, I will knock him out,” said the champion from the ALA boxing stable.
Nietes tipped the scale at exactly 108 lbs. during the official weigh-in held Friday (Saturday, Manila time), while Alejo came a little lighter at 107.4 lbs.
But Alejo (21-3, 13 KOs) declared his time is now, saying Nietes, despite being ‘a complete fighter’, is going back home without his title belt.
“I think his time is over, now comes my time. I’m not leaving here without that championship,” said the young Mexican, who vows to return to Mexico as the ‘new world champion.’
“I’m very motivated. On Saturday, I’ll go out and give a good fight. Nietes is a complete fighter, one of the best, but I have hunger and he knows what it is to be hungry.”
Third man in the ring is veteran Raul Caiz Jr. whiles the three judges scoring the bout are Pat Russell, Lou Moert, and Marshall Walker III.
Three other boxers from ALA stable are fighting in the US for the first time as part of the fight card being promoted by the Cebu-based promotion.
Albert Pagara takes on William Gonzales in a 10-round bout for the WBO Intercontinental Jr. featherweight championship, while his brother Jayson Pagara battles Santos Benavidez in a 10-round non-title match at junior welterweight.
Unbeaten Mark Magsayo meanwhile, faces Yardley Suarez for the IBF (International Boxing Federation) Youth featherweight title also set for 10 rounds.