DONNIE Nietes gets a crack at Kazuto Ioka of Japan ahead of compatriot Jerwin Ancajas.
The WBO recently ordered the Japanese champion to take on Nietes in a mandatory title fight for the Japanese’s super-flyweight belt.
Both parties had been given 30 days by the boxing body to reach a deal in order to avoid the fight going to a purse bid.
WBO championship committee chairman Luis Batista-Salas already wrote a letter informing the two camps about the fight – with Nietes now fighting under Probellum and Ioka under TLAROCK Entertainment.
“Please be advised that the WBO World Championship Committee is hereby ordering the commencement of negotiations for the subject matter bout,” said Batista-Salas in his letter. “The parties herein have 30 days upon issuance of this letter to negotiate and reach an agreement accordingly.”
Ancajas was supposed to fight Ioka on New Year’s Eve of 2021 in Tokyo in a unification title match, only for the bout to be cancelled at the last minute when the Japanese government decided to close it borders to all arriving foreigners to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Hopes of resetting the fight middle of this year went up in smoke when Ancajas lost his IBF super-flyweight crown via unanimous decision against Fernando Martinez of Argentina in Las Vegas last February.
That paved the way for Nietes, 39, to get a shot at winning a fifth world crown following a comeback in April last year after a three-year hibernation.
The pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental already beat Ioka previously when he scored a split decision against the Japanese in a New Year’s Eve fight in 2018 in Macau to claim the then vacant WBO super-flyweight title.
Nietes relinquished the crown as he refused to face mandatory challenger and fellow Filipino Aston Palicte in a rematch of their 2018 title bout for the same WBO championship which the veteran fighter won by split decision.
After Nietes relinquished his belt, the WBO ordered an Ioka-Palicte match for the vacant crown, which the Japanese won via a 10th-round TKO.
Ioka has since defended the crown against Jeyvier Cintron, Kosei Tanaka, Francisco Rodriguez Jr., and Ryoji Fukunaga, the late replacement when the fight against Ancajas was scrapped.
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