DONNIE 'Ahas' Nietes goes for broke on New Year’s Eve when he vies for the vacant World Boxing Organization super-flyweight title against Kazuto Ioka of Japan.
The 36-year-old Filipino slugs it out with his younger Japanese opponent over 12 rounds on Monday night at the Wynn Palace, Cotai Arena in Macau.
The fighter from Murcia, Negros Occidental is expected to throw caution to the wind and go all-out in his bid for a fourth world division crown.
“Ginawa ni Donnie lahat sa training. Ready na ready na siya para sa fourth world title,” said lead trainer Edito ‘Ala’ Villamor from Macau on Sunday.
During the official weigh-in, Nietes came in at exactly 115 lbs., while Ioka, a former three-time world division champion like the Filipino, tipped in at 114.5 lbs.
Three months ago, Nietes (41-1-5, 23 KOs) vied for the similar WBO title against fellow Filipino Aston Palicte at The Forum in Los Angeles, but was held to a split draw in a fight many believed the pride of ALA boxing should have won.
Now he has to go through the dangerous 29-year-old Ioka.
The Japanese held titles at minimumweight, flyweight and light-flyweight in a 10-year career that was abruptly cut short when he decided to retire last year after getting married to Japanese pop singer Nana Tanimura.
Ioka came out of hibernation early this year and fought his first match in the last 17 months in September when he scored a 10-round unanimous decision against McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico.
The Japanese has a ring record of 23-1, with 13 KOs.
Villamor says Ioka is a great fighter, but says he likes Nietes’ chances.
“Magaling din yung kalaban, pero may weakness din,” he said.
Veteran and Hall of Famer Robert Byrd will be the third man on the ring, while the three judges scoring the bout are Levi Martinez, Patricia Morse Jarman and Samuel Nieto.