DONNIE “Ahas” Nietes relied on powerful counter-punching and speed to stop Mexican Moses Fuentes in the ninth round of their rematch Saturday night.
With the win, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight crown stays with Nietes.
The fight was the main event of Pinoy Pride XXV at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City (Metro Manila).
The 28-year-old Fuentes hung tough in the early rounds, but began to wilt under the 31-year-old Nietes’ barrage who began to find his range.
“I didn’t focus on the knockout in the early rounds, but I smelled it when I hurt him so bad in the sixth and seventh rounds,” Nietes, who improved his record to 33 victories with 19 knockouts, 1 loss and 4 draws, told a post-fight news conference.
The Mexican, who could not adjust to Nietes’ new strategy of counter-punching and increased pace, absorbed a lot of uppercuts and was shaken by solid left and right hooks from the seventh to the eighth rounds.
Nietes went to work on Fuentes’ midsection, forcing the Mexican to bring down his arms and leaving him open to shots in the head.
Fuentes went down in the eighth but managed to get up.
Instead of staying away in the ninth, he chose to bring the fight to the Filipino. He paid dearly for his bravado as Nietes floored him for the second time with a left hook.
Nietes’ right hook to Fuentes’ jaw just before the bell sent the Mexican to the canvas for the third time. Referee Robert Byrd stepped in and declared Nietes the winner.
With the win, Nietes is on track to break Gabriel “Flash” Elorde’s record of holding on to a world title for seven years and three months.
In other bouts, Milan Melindo scored a unanimous decision win against Mexican Martin Tecuapetla to retain his WBO international flyweight title.
Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista made a successful ring comeback by scoring a unanimous decision against Mexican Sergio Villanueva.
Melindo improved to 31-1 with 12 knockouts, while Bautista has 35 wins and three losses with 25 knockouts.