He didn’t deliver a knockout, but Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes was happy to fulfill his promise to put on a show for fans on Saturday night.
The 30-year-old Negrense delivered the clearer and harder punches to systematically wear down Mexican Felipe Salguero and retain his World Boxing Organization light-flyweight title at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World, Manila.
The unanimous decision victory atoned for an unimpressive victory last October against Ramon Garcia, which Nietes had promised to put behind him as he bids to crash the list of the world’s marquee fighters.
“Hindi ako nangako na may knockout, pero pinangako ko na maganda ang laban,” said Nietes. “Satisfied na ako ngayon.”
Judges Muhammad Rois and Sawaeng Taweekoon scored it 116-112 while Salven Lagumbay had it 115-113 all for the native of Murcia, Negros Occidental, who improved to 30 wins (16 knockouts) with one loss and three draws.
Nietes extended his win streak to 18 fights while Salguero suffered his first loss after a run of 13 wins. The Mexican dropped to 16 wins with three losses and one draw.
Nietes plans to have two or three more title defenses before moving up in weight, with World Boxing Association titlist Roman Gonzalez his next target.
Nietes dominated five of the first six rounds but found Salguero a tough nut to crack, the Mexican challenger refusing to budge despite being at the receiving end of the Filipino’s solid punches.
“Matibay talaga,” Nietes said.
Salguero not only stayed on his feet but also threatened to turn the match around in the late rounds. Only the solid defense of Nietes and a late flurry prevented the Mexican from stealing the victory.
“Nasaktan rin ako nung eighth and ninth round,” Nietes admitted.
Nietes’ coach, Edmund Villamor, had to remind the champion to stick to their game plan in the late rounds. “Sabi ko wag niya iwanan ang jab niya.”
It was a good night for ALA Boxing as Nietes’ stablemates Milan “El Metodico” Melindo and Genesis “Azukal” Servania likewise made their countrymen proud.
Melindo had the most impressive victory in the fight card dubbed ‘Pinoy Pride XIV: Night of Champions.’
Despite his height and reach disadvantage, Melindo knocked out Jesus Gelez with a relentless attack to the body to retain his WBO international flyweight title.
Servania took the World Boxing Council international silver super-bantamweight title via a 12th round technical knockout over Genaro Garcia.