Reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes made short work of challenger Raul Garcia, battering the Mexican into submission at the end of fifth round to keep his belt at the Saint La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod City on Saturday.
Showing the heart of a true champion, Nietes fought smoothly in the first two rounds, keeping the bout close before unleashing his power-packed punches in third round to clobber the helpless Mexican on the way to accomplishing his successful ninth title defense.
Nietes, 34, who improved to 38-1-4 win-loss-draw record with 22 knockouts, landed a solid left hook before following it up with a powerful right on the body to floor Garcia for the first time that thrilled the hometown crowd.
The second knockdown came also in third round, when Nietes hit the 33-year-old Garcia in the body. But Garcia stood up and was saved by the bell avoiding damages. Nietes sustained his punches and Garcia just turned out to be a human target in the fourth and fifth round.
Garcia’s corner threw in the towel before the sixth round started as the Mexican couldn’t fightback. The twin brother of Ramon Garcia, who was also defeated by Nietes five years ago via unanimous decision, fell to 38-4-1 record with 23 knockouts.
“Donnie [Nietes] just hit him according to the game plan,” Nietes’ trainer Edito Villamor told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “Garcia was moving forward and didn’t back down that’s why Donnie used his counter-punching strategies.”
Nietes, who hails from Murcia, Negros Occidental, was then declared winner via technical knockout. It was also the first knockout loss of La Paz Mexico native Garcia in his 12-year boxing career after previously holding the International Boxing Federation and WBO world minimum weight belts.
“King” Arthur Villanueva (29-1 record with 15 knockouts) scored a controversial fourth round knockout victory over Mexican Juan Ignacio Jimenez (22-10 record with 15 knockouts), which was protested by the Mexican camp as accidental clash of heads. Former world title challenger Milan Melindo (34-2 record with 12 knockouts) won over Mexican Maximino Flores (19-3 record with 13 knockouts) via unanimous decision.