Donnie “Ahas” Nietes banked on his superb counter-punching on Saturday night to retain his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight title against Mexican Francisco Rodriguez via unanimous decision at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.
The 33-year old Nietes, the longest-reigning Filipino world boxing champion, was pushed to the limit by the Mexican’s aggressive fighting style from the start of the fight but the champion’s counter-punching carried him through the fight. The Filipino’s accurate counter-punching technique did most of the damage on Rodriguez’s face.
“Donnie earns the respect of the Mexican [Rodriguez] after the fight,” Nietes trainer Edmund Villamor told The Manila Times via phone interview after the fight. “It was a great performance by Nietes against a determined Rodriguez.”
Nietes, who improved to 36-1-4 (win-loss-draw) with 21 knockouts, got favorable scores from the judges of 119-109, 115-113 and 118-110 to successfully defend his WBO light flyweight title for the eighth time.
Rodriguez dropped to 17-3-1 with 11 knockouts.
Although Rodriguez was able to hit the Filipino in most rounds, Nietes managed to get back with combo of punches all-throughout the match. It was in the eighth round that Nietes showed his best.
Meanwhile, in the undercard, Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo won his first title belt, the International Boxing Federation Youth featherweight crown, by scoring a fifth round technical knockout win against Rafael Reyes of Mexico.
Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja scored a sixth round knockout of Indonesian Ardi Tefa with 2:19 left, while Jorge Kahwagi of Mexico scored a first round technical knockout over compatriot Ramon Alejandro Olivas with 57 seconds left in their cruiserweight bout.
Roli “Zuma” Gasca knocked out Rasmanudin of Indonesia in the second round with still 24 seconds left, while Vic Saludar posted a technical knockout win over Michael Kaibigan with 1:54 left.
Elmo Traya won over Bryan Macamay in third round via knockout, while Carlo Demecillo won by unanimous decision over Virgel Vitor.
Raul Yu and Richard Sueno settled for a split draw in the night’s opening bout.