By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Former WBO minimumweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes who relinquished his title to move up in weight and chase a second world crown has expressed confidence he can achieve the feat when he faces Mexico’s Ramon Garcia Hirales at the University of St. La Salle gymnasium in Bacolod City on October 8.
Nietes told the Inquirer after watching a DVD of the title fight between Garcia Hirales and Jesus Geles provided by this reporter that he could take the champion handily.
However, ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said he had told Nietes “you cannot be overconfident” noting that Garcia Hirales had a solid left hook and that sometimes “you can’t see the punch coming.”
Prior to leaving for Bacolod from the ALA Gym training camp along with trainer Edito “Ala” Villamor yesterday (Friday) Nietes told the Cebu media he was ready for this fight adding “I have prepared long and hard in the gym. I am excited and this is a dream come true for me to fight in front of my countrymen.”
Nietes had defended his WBO minimum weight title three times in Mexico and had longed for a chance to fight before a hometown crowd since he was born in Murcia which is some 16.5 kilometers from Bacolod City which is his residence.
Aldeguer said that the Mexican champion, a southpaw like his twin brother Raul “Rayito” Garcia, the former WBO minimum weight champion who won the title from the Philippines Florante Condes is likely to arrive in Bacolod some two weeks before the title defense so he could get acclimatized.
Garcia Hirales won the interim title with a twelve round decision over Filipino titleholder Johnreil Casinmero on July 24, 2010. He successfully defended his title with a majority decision over Manuel Vargas before he lost the interim title to Jesus Geles in a controversial split decision.
Garcia Hirales won by a fourth round knockout in a rematch on April 30, 2011 to win the world title on the same night that he and his brother Raul made history when they because the first set of twin brothers to win world titles on the same fight card.