Longest reigning Filipino world boxing champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight title today against Francisco Rodriguez of Mexico in the 31st edition of Pinoy Pride at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.
Nietes, 33, expressed readiness to take on the 22-year-old Rodriguez. The Filipino pug and his Mexican challenger both tipped the scale at exactly 108 pounds during the weigh-in supervised by Cebu’s Games and Amusement Board.
“I’m ready to fight,” Nietes (35-1-4 win-loss-draw record with 21 knockouts) told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “I don’t like to say anything against my opponent because I don’t talk too much. I will do my best to win and retain my title.”
Boxing fans are eager to see how Nietes would avenge the loss of his stablemate and former world champion Mer¬lito Sabillo to Rodriguez last year.
“If a knockout opportunity comes, then so be it. I really like to avenge the loss of Sabillo but my main focus right now is how to beat him,” he said. “I don’t underestimate any opponent that’s why I prepared so hard for this fight.”
Rodriguez (17-2-1 record with 11 knockouts) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Filipino Jomar Fajardo in a rematch on January 31 in Mexico City. His first fight with Fajardo on November 15, 2014 in Cebu City ended in a split decision.
Rodriguez is known for his aggressiveness and for throwing potent combinations. The former WBO and International Boxing Federation minimum weight champion personally challenged Nietes to a title fight last year.