Filipino Interim WBO Bantamweight world champion John Riel Casimero (24-4, 18 KO’s) and taller Mexican challenger Cesar “Perico” Ramirez (18-3, 11 KO’s) successfully made weight ahead of their title battle this Saturday, August 24, at the San Andres Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.

The battle will air live on ABS CBN S+A channel 23 starting at 7:00 PM.

The challenger from Colonia Los Fresnos in Tepic, Nayarit, easily made 117.6 pounds in his first try.

Casimero, 30, had to go to extra two hours of sweating to make the limit of the bantamweight division, 118 pounds.

According to WBO fight supervisor Leon Panoncillo, the winner of the clash is mandated to battle WBO regular bantamweight world champion Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KO’s).

“I am going to win. I have dreamed about being a world champion this for too long. This is my golden door and I am walking in,” said the 31 year-old Ramirez, in his second war in a foreign land.

Three years ago Ramirez battled then Ryan Burnett (20-1, 10 KO’s) in Leeds, England, losing by points. This time he is gunning for the gold.


nietes-garcia-GR-052716 Donnie Nietes vows not to disappoint provincemates in his defense of his WBO title against Mexican Raul Garcia. Photo by:  Gerry Ramos

BACOLOD CITY – Donnie Nietes sees twin brothers Raul and Ramon Garcia as almost the same fighters. And it goes without saying he expects the same result for him when he stakes his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight crown on the line.

The beloved son of Negros Occidental vowed not to disappoint against the cocky Raul Garcia in their 12-round title match at the La Salle Coliseum on Saturday night, almost five years since he beat the Mexican challenger’s sibling via a unanimous decision in exactly the same fight venue.

And unlike that 2011 championship bout in which Nietes, now 33, came close to going down in the last few rounds after losing steam in the stretch, he said the same won’t happen to him this time around.

“Grabe ang strength and conditioning na ginawa namin,” admitted Nietes after some carbo oading following the official weigh-in on Friday afternoon for Pinoy Pride 36: A Legend in the Making at the Robinson’s Place here.

“Dati kinakapos ang stamina ko. Before parang five or six rounds lang tayo. Ngayon, pinag-aralan talaga namin paano makaabot ng 12 rounds (yung stamina ko),” said the longest reigning Filipino world champion of all time, who tipped the scale at exactly 108-lbs.

That’s exactly what happened to him against Ramon Garcia Hirales, when he had to rely on heart and sheer will to survive the late onslaught by the Mexican to win his second world title which he holds until today.

Raul was at ringside that same night, and believes his brother did enough to win the fight.

“He remembers the fight very well. It was a very close fight, and he believes his brother should have won by one or two points, but the judges gave it to Nietes,” said one of Raul’s cornermen.

“Revenge is very much on his mind. Revenge for the honor of his brother and the honor of the country,” he added of the challenger, who also came in at 108 lbs for the main event of the boxing card put up by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports.

Raul trained almost five months for a shot at another world title in a second weight division, establishing his camp in a desert near Mexico City located 3,000 miles above sea level.

In all, the former WBO minimumweight champion (36-3-1, 22 KOs) worked 160 rounds of sparring to prepare for the bout.

“There’s no one who’s got balls than the Mexican fighters. if Donnie stays in the middle and fights like a man, he’s gonna knock him out,” said Garcia’s interpreter. “But Donnie will fight and run. So he’s ready for both, whether he runs or he stays in front of me.”

Nietes said fighting style wise, Raul and Ramon are just the same.

“I think same lang sila, lookalike and style,” said the champion (37-1-4, 21 KOs), who’s making the ninth defense of his title.

The pride of the municipality of Murcia, said he’ll be very patient this time unlike during his fight with Ramon Garcia before.

“Ang mind-set ko talaga huwag mag-madali, relax lang tayo. Maging patient and maghanap ng paraan paano tayo manalo,” he said.

Once inside the ring, though, Raul said Nietes will realize he’s a different animal than his brother.

“My style and my brother is different,” said Garcia. “I’m very confident I’m gonna come out the winner.”

In the main undercard, Arthur Villanueva and Mexican Juan Jimenez both made weight for their WBO Asia-Pacific bantamweight championship fight. Villanueva tipped in at 117.5 lbs., while Jimenez was at 118 lbs.

Milan Melindo however, came in four lbs. over the weight limit for his flyweight match against another Mexican in Maximino Flores. The native of Cagayan de Oro City weighed 114 lbs. to the 110 of Flores, although camps of both fighters agreed to go on with the fight using bigger gloves, and possibly, a corresponding fine on Melindo.

Donnie Nietes


HOME is where the heart is for Donnie Nietes when he puts his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight title on the line later this month.

The 33-year-old Filipino will be fighting in front of his provincemates on May 28 at La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod as the featured main event in the 36th edition of Pinoy Pride: A Legend in the Making.

It will be the first bout of Nietes in Negros Occidental since 2011 when he first wrested the 108-lb. title belt with a unanimous decision win over Ramon Garcia Hirales.

“Sobrang excited na,” said the proud son of Murcia, Negros Occidental about his impending homecoming just three weeks from now.

Incidentally, Nietes will be up against Raul ‘Rayito’ Garcia, the twin brother of Ramon Garcia.

Garcia, from Baja, California Sur, Mexico, packs a wallop as the 33-year-old southpaw challenger carries a 38-3-1 record, including 23 by KOs.

Currently on a five-fight win streak, Garcia has a common opponent with Nietes in Moises Fuentes to whom the Mexican lost by split decision in 2011. In contrast, the Filipino champion twice defeated Fuentes via a majority decision (Waterfront Hotel in Cebu, 2013) and by technical knockout (Mall of Asia, 2014).

“Pero siyempre hindi rin tayo basta mag-kumpiyansa,” said Nietes on Wednesday when he faced a select group of mediamen over lunch courtesy of ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports.

Nietes co-trainer Edwin Villamor said the camp of the longest-reigning Filipino world champion ever has repeatedly watched the tape of the Fuentes-Garcia bout.

“Magandang laban, parehong Mexicano,” said the brother of ALA boxing gym head trainer Edito Villamor. “Pero dun pa lang, may idea na kami kung paano siya atakihin.”

Nietes admitted being still 10 pounds over the limit, but sees no problem shedding off the excess weight.

He is already in the final phase of his training, having gone 12 rounds in sparring on Tuesday against heavier sparmates.

The champion’s camp will be in Manila until Saturday when they fly back to Cebu and resume training at the ALA boxing gym.

Nietes plans to be in Bacolod at least two weeks before the 12-round match.

The WBO title holder last fought in October of 2015 when he retained his title belt with a unanimous decision win over Juan Alejo in his first ever U.S. bout held at the StarHub Center in Carson, California.


MANILA – November is shaping up to be a busy month for Pinoy boxing fans with Filipino boxing superstars Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. both scheduled to return to the ring after suffering losses.

On Tuesday, the Pinoy Pride Series, presented by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports, announced its latest boxing event “Filipinos Kontra Latinos” with two world championship belts on the line. It will be held at Araneta Coliseum on November 30.

The Filipino boxers will be led by WBO world light-flyweight champion Donni “Ahas” Nietes, who has held a world title since 2007.

The other Pinoy boxers include:

  • Undisputed WBO world minimumweight champion Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo, who downed Colombian challenger Jorlie Estrada during the ninth round with a perfect left hook body shot for his first title defense at the Solaire Resort and Casino last July.
  • Milan “El Metodico” Melindo, who displayed tremendous courage despite losing a 12-round unanimous decision in the unifying WBO/WBA world flyweight championship in Macau against Juan Francisco Estrada.
  • Highly ranked WBO No. 4 contender Jason Pagara, whose quest for a world title is an uphill climb for this young boxer; and
  • AJ “Bazooka” Banal, who has a record of 29-21 with 21 KO’s and is currently No. 13 in the WBO bantamweight rankings, and comes fresh from his victory against Abrahan Gomez last July.

This is the first time that all five Filipino boxers will come together in one event.