DONNIE 'Ahas' Nietes failed to shut the lights out of Juan Alejo and had to settle for a unanimous decision in retaining his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight crown on Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time) at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California.
The 33-year-old champion won the 12-round match via lopsided scores of 120-108, 119-109, and 119-109 in his first major bout in the US.
The pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental made his eighth successful defense of his 108-lb. title while improving his ring record to 37-1-4, with 21 KOs.
It also put him on track for a possible lucrative fight with world pound-for-pound fighter Roman Gonzales of Nicaragua.
The unbeaten Gonzales earlier retained his World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight crown with a ninth-round technical knockout of Filipino Brian Viloria at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“Panalo rin ako ngayon. Gusto ko yan. That’s a good fight,” said Nietes in an interview with ABS-CBN, which aired the fight card serving as the 33rd edition of the boxing series Pinoy Pride in cooperation with Cebu-based ALA Boxing Promotions.
Nietes also remained as the longest reigning Filipino world champion.
Alejo lost for the first time after stringing 21 straight wins to drop to 21-4, with 13 KOs.
There was no knockdown during the fight although Nietes was in complete control, even hurting the game Mexican challenger several times.