Donnie “Ahas” Nietes won the world WBO minimum weight world title with a unanimous twelve round decision over previously undefeated Thai Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym at the plush Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City, Sunday night.
A knockdown in the fourth round and a one point deduction in the tenth round by referee Raul Caiz Jr for repeated low blows gave Nietes an edge in a fight that was much closer than what was reflected in the scorecards of judges Salven Lagumbay 116-110 and Levi Martinez 115-111. The third judge, Sawaeng Taweekom of Thailand had Nietes the winner by only one point 114-113.
The scorecard of the Thai judge appeared to jibe with the comments of WBO bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa who was one of the TV commentators alongside Noel Zarate when he indicated it was almost too close to call.
Nietes started off well in a fight that was a disappointment in terms of quality for a world title bout and the Thai who was ranked No.2 showed courage and the ability to throw a lot of punches but not much else while Nietes visibly tired in the middle rounds even as Pornsawan tagged him with his elbow several times especially in close quarter exchanges but which the referee failed to spot.
A right hook at the bell ending round one staggered Pornsawan and although he threw more punches in round two Nietes retaliated with a series of solid body shots in the third that weakened the Thai who went down from a right hook in round four. But when Nietes failed to press his advantage Pornsawan fought back in the closing stages of the round.
The Thai hurt Nietes in the fifth round, was cautioned for hitting after the bell in the sixth and warned in the seventh for a low blow. Nietes had Pornsawan in trouble in the eighth round but didn’t have the stamina to finish the job enabling Pornsawan to come back in the ninth as Nietes visibly tired.
After being deducted a point for a low blow in the tenth Pornsawan threw everything he had at Nietes but the Filipino was able to withstand the assault to eke out the win and give the Philippines its fourth world crown although the fight itself failed to match the quality of the championship victories of WBO bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa who won the title from Jhonny Gonzales with a seventh round KO, IBO/IBF champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire who grabbed the two titles with a stunning fifth round knockout over previously undefeated Vic Darchinyan and IBF minimum weight champion Florante Condes who won the title from Muhammad Rachman of Indonesia by a unanimous decision.
Nevertheless it was a well-deserved victory for the renowned boxing patron Tony Aldeguer whose commitment to the sport and his care, concern and faith in the fighters of the famed ALA Gym finally paid off and blessed him with a world title.