DONNIE Nietes wants to take his sweet time and enjoy the remaining holiday season shortly after becoming a world champion again on Monday night.
His eyes sparkled though, when asked what lies ahead for him in 2019.
The 36-year-old Nietes said he wants to face the best in the super-flyweight division shortly after capturing the World Boxing Organization (WBO) version of the 115-lb title on New Year’s Eve with a split decision win over Kazuto Ioka of Japan at the Wynn Palace Cotai in Macau.
Sensing opportunities for big-money fights, Nietes was quick to rattle off the names of Sor Ruvingsai, former world pound-for-pound champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzales, and Juan Francisco Estrada as among those he’s eyeing to challenge in the coming months.
“Yan ang dream fights ni Donnie,” said lead trainer Edito ‘Ala’ Villamor.
A possible showdown with fellow Filipino Jerwin Ancajas, the super-flyweight title holder of the International Boxing Federation (IBF), could also be on the horizon, but it’s the top three foreign fighters who remains his top targets.
Nietes and his small team arrived to a hero’s welcome at the Mactan International Airport on New Year’s Day from Macau via Hong Kong less than 24 hours after becoming a champion for a fourth time.
The native of Murcia, Negros Occidental considered his latest title special, according to assistant trainer Edmund Villamor.
“Ito ang masarap at naiiba na panalo ni Donnie kasi napasama siya sa hanay ni Senator (Pacquiao) at (Nonito Donaire),” stressed Edmund.
Pacquiao is the only eighth-time world division champion in boxing history, while Donaire is a multiple champion in five different weight division.
To celebrate the feat and New Year’s Eve as well, Nietes and his entourage shared a sumptuous dinner to welcome 2019.
“Nag-celebrate kami ng New Year sa Macau Grand Lisboa countdown,” said Edito.
“And pag-uwi pahinga muna and enjoy itong panalo ni Donnie,” added Villamor, who said Team Nietes had to forego the holiday celebration as they prepared for the Ioka fight and left the country on Christmas Day.