Newly crowned World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight titleholder Donnie “Ahas” Nietes is now very eager to target other world champions in his weight class - and makes it clear that he's not avoiding a fight with Filipino rival Aston Palicte.
Back on December 31 in China, Nietes won a split decision over Japan's Kazuto Ioka to capture the vacant WBO super flyweight championship.
The 29-year-old Ioka, aiming for his fourth world title, had trouble coping the powerful inside punching by the 36-year-old Filipino in the main event of a world title fight triple header at Wynn Palace Cotai in Macau. Nietes was given the edge on two judges' cards, 118-110 and 116-112, while the third scored the fight 116-112 in Ioka's favor.
Nietes' record improved to 42-1 with five draws. It was his second shot at this title.
The first time Nietes went for the WBO world title, he fought Palicte to a controversial split draw last September in California. Most observers felt Nietes clearly won the contest.
“I’m not avoiding anyone and I’m willing to fight anyone. If [Palicte] became a mandatory challenger, I will face him,” added Nietes to The Manila Times.
To get that mandatory shot, Palicte (24-2-1 record with 20 knockouts) needs to win his WBO title eliminator against Jose Martinez of Puerto Rico on January 31 at the Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine, California.
“I believe it’s better for me to fight in a unification bout against other super flyweight world champions. It’s up to my manager to decide on that,” added Nietes.
And Nietes’ trainer Edito Villamor is supportive of his boxer's unification desire to face champions like World Boxing Council super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
“It’s better if he would fight Rungvisai than Palicte because the Thai is a world champion. He’s not avoiding Palicte, he just wants a better fight,” Villamor said.