AFTER Manny Pacquiao, two more Filipino boxers will be fighting for world championships one after the other next month.
First at bat is Donnie 'Ahas' Nietes, who stakes his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight crown against Moises Fuentes of Mexico in a rematch of their controversial fight a year ago.
Nietes, champion in his division for three years now, and Fuentes square off again on May 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Exactly three weeks later, Nonito Donaire Jr. vies for his third world title when he challenges Simpiwe Vityeka of South Africa for the World Boxing Association (WBA) super-featherweight belt. The 12-round match will be held at the Cotai Arena in Macau on May 31.
Donaire, 31, is fighting for a world crown for the first time since yielding the WBO and WBA super-bantamweight crowns to unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux following a unanimous decision loss.
The two are hoping last week’s victory of the 35-year-old Pacquiao would rub off on them.
The legendary Filipino boxer regained the WBO welterweight title from American Timothy Bradley after scoring a clear unanimous decision in their 12-round bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Of the two, Nietes (32-1-4, with 18 KOs) faces the tough task of defending his WBO title against the 28-year-old Fuentes (19-1-1, 10 KOs), a former WBO minimumweight champion whose career win includes knocking out the great Ivan Calderon of Puerto Rico.
Although coming off an impressive third round knockout of Sammy Gutierrez in his last fight five months ago, the pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental barely beat Fuentes in their showdown last year at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu as Nietes was fortunate enough to eke out a majority decision win.
Since losing to Nietes, Fuentes has racked up three straight wins including a seventh-round technical knockout of Omar Salado in his last fight.
But the 31-year-old Nietes said he’s preparing hard for his return bout against the Mexican challenger, having trained in the US for about a month and is now in the final three weeks of his training camp at the famed ALA gym in Cebu.
Donaire (32-2, 21 KOs) meanwhile, also decided to establish camp in the country and is training under his father Nonito Donaire Sr.
The father-and-son tandem were reunited during the last fight of the `Filipino Flash’ when he repeated over longtime nemesis Vic Darchinyan, whom he plastered in nine rounds of their 10-round non-title encounter in Corpus Christi, Texas last year.
The 33-year-old Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KOs) is defending his title for the first time since wresting it from previously unbeaten Indonesian Chris John.