• ‘Ahas,’ ‘Tiger’ defend titles in Pinoy Pride 23


    CURRENT world champions Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and Merlito “The Tiger” Sabillo will stake their titles when they fight separate challengers tonight in the 23rd edition of the Pinoy Pride boxing entitled Filipinos kontra Latinos at the Araneta Coliseum.

    Nietes, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight champ, will face Mexican Sammy Gutierrez (33-9-2 win-loss-draw slate with 23 knockouts), while Sabillo will stake his WBO minimum weight crown against unbeaten Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago.

    “I’m ready to fight tomorrow night,” Nietes (31-1-4 record with 17 knockouts) told The Manila Times after the weigh-in at Robinson Galleria on Friday. “Winning my fight convincingly is must since I’m preparing for a mandatory title defense next year.”

    Nietes and challenger Moses Fuentes of Mexico, whose bout last March ended in a majority draw, will have a mandatory rematch next year in a still undetermined venue.

    Gutierrez, for his part, said he is ready to seize the title from Nietes although he admitted that the fight would be the toughest since the Filipino is a great fighter.

    “Only God knows what will happen but I’m ready to surprise all of you,” said the Mexican through an interpreter.

    The undefeated Sabillo (23-0 card with 12 knockouts) is facing the dangerous Buitrago (27-0 card with 16 knockouts) for his third title defense.

    “They told me Buitrago is fast and dangerous, but I’m not bothered,” said the 29-year-old Sabillo, who defeated Jorle Estrada of Mexico in June via ninth round technical knockout. “I have to fight smarter than him.”

    Both Nietes and Gutierrez weighed 108 lbs. while Sabillo and Buitrago both tipped the scale at 105 lbs.

    Meanwhile, Jason “El Niño” Pagara will defend his WBO junior welterweight international title against Vladimir Baez of Dominican Republic. Both fighters weighed 140lbs.

    Former world title challenger Milan Melindo battles Jose Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico for Melindo’s WBO international flyweight title. Both registered 111 lbs. During the weigh-in AJ “Bazooka” Banal collides against Lucian Gonzalez of Puerto Rico in a non-title fight while Jimrex “Executioner” Jaca will take on Wellem Reyk of Indonesia.

    Josef T. Ramos


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