Our very own Donnie “Ahas” Nietes made headlines over the weekend with his knockout win over Juan Carlos Reveco of Argentina, in a battle of flyweights ranked in the Top 5 of The Ring flyweight list. The title fight was staged at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Nietes (41-1-4 with 23 KOs), ranked at No. 1 by The Ring at flyweight (112 pounds), successfully defended his International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight (112 pounds) title by knocking out Reveco (39-4 with 19 KOs) in the seventh round. Reveco was ranked at No. 3 in The Ring flyweight list prior to the fight, which shows he was not just a challenger hand-picked to give Nietes another victory. The boxing magazine has not yet named a linear champion for flyweight, which makes Nietes the top dog in the flyweight ranks.
Now 35 years old and undefeated since September 2004, Nietes is now in a position to collar fights with other titleholders at flyweight, and his resounding win over Reveco over the weekend will surely make boxing promoters in the United States consider him for bigger fights.
The good news is former undefeated world flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez is now campaigning at junior bantamweight (115 pounds) after tasting two consecutive losses from Wisaksel Wangek of Thailand. In their rematch, Wangek did the unexpected by knocking out Gonzalez of Nicaragua.
The two fights between Wangek and Gonzalez fights were blockbusters, because after the bout, the Thai fighter touted a record of 45-4-1 with 40 KOs and the Nicaraguan 46-2 with 38 KOs.
Now that Gonzalez is campaigning at junior bantamweight and no longer a threat to Nietes, the Filipino has the chance to get more world titles at flyweight.
So who are the flyweight champions Nietes must defeat to collar more world titles?
There’s Daigo Higa of Japan, who is ranked at No. 2 by The Ring among flyweights and sports a perfect record of 15-0 with 15 KOs. Higa holds the World Boxing Council title.
Sho Kimura also of Japan, with a record of 16-1-2 with 9 KOs, holds the World Boxing Organization title and is ranked at No. 5 by The Ring for the division.
Then there’s Artem Dalakian of Ukraine who is undefeated at 16-0 with 11 KOs and holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) title. Dalakian is ranked at No. 9 by The Ring in the division.
In the undercard of the Nietes-Reveco fight, Dalakian decisioned Nietes’compatriot Brian Viloria (38-6 with 23 KOs) to win the vacant WBA world flyweight title.
Viloria put up a gallant stand until an elbow from Dalakian opened a cut on his forehead in the 11th round. And it was downhill for the Filipino from that point. I believe Dalakian has nothing to rejoice over his victory over Viloria, who is already 37 years old and no longer in his prime.
Obviously, Nietes is going up against the younger fighters as Higa is 22 years old, Kimura is 29, and Dalakian 30.
But Nietes never looks like he is in his mid-30s. Credit that to his discipline and the focus he gives to his boxing career.
And with his recent win in California, Filipino and American boxing fans will surely want to see Nietes win another version of the world flyweight title.