Nietes and Palicte are scheduled to fight for the vacant WBO Junior Bantamweight World Championship on the upcoming HBO and 360 Promotions-presented SuperFly 3 card at The Forum in Los Angeles, California this September 8th (September 9th, Manila time).
Three-division world champion Nietes will be making his much-awaited debut in the Jr. Bantamweight division.
For the 36-year old Murcia, Negros Occidental native, who still holds the distinction for being the longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion during his undisputed reign in the light flyweight division, his bout with Palicte serves as another opportunity to showcase his world-class talents to a much bigger audience.
“Excited na excited kasi nabigyan ulit ako ng opportunity na makapag-laban dito sa SuperFly,” Nietes told ABS-CBN News’ Steve Angeles during the SuperFly 3 press conference in Hollywood, Wednesday evening. “This is a bug card, malaking tuwa ko na lalaban ako ulit dito sa US, ipapakita ko naman yung talent namin dito sa US.”
This will be Nietes’ second consecutive fight in the United States, coming off a successful IBF Flyweight World Championship defense against Juan Carlos Reveco at SuperFly 2 back in February, also at The Forum.
While Nietes has long been a household name in the Philippines, many saw the ALA Promotions star’s dominant performance as a coming out party of sorts.
This time, Nietes finds himself matched up agaisnt a fellow Filipino, who’s hungry for a world championship as well, in Palicte.
Originally scheduled to be the headliner for a Pinoy Pride card in Cebu this August, 360 Promotions founder Tom Loeffler saw the opportunity to bring a pair of world-class Pinoy boxers on a much bigger stage.
“When we had an opportunity in September 8th to put on a triple-header on HBO, I told peter Nelson of HBO that this is one of the best fights in the super flyweight division, for a WBO world championship and he agreed,” Loeffler said. “Donnie had a great performance in SuperFly 2. Aston now has the opportunity to fight for a world title at 115-pounds. I think it’s a tremendous matchup for these two great Filipino fighters.”
Aside from the obvious prestige that comes with fighting for a world title, Palicte also has the opportunity to face off against not only a kababayan, but also someone he’s looked up.
“Dati, bata pa ako, siya medyo matanda na sa akin, nakikita ko na sila, ina-idolize ko na sila. Hanggang ngayon, magkalaban na kami.”
For the 27-year old Bago,Negros Occidental-native, it’s purely business.
“Trabaho yan, part ng trabaho. Sa taas ng ring siguro iba, at pagkatapos ng laban, iba rin. Magkaibigan, pero wala eh, wala tayong magagawa, trabaho lang. Sports lang.”
This will be the second all-Filipino world title fight this year, five months after reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas defended his IBF Super Flyweight World Championship against Nietes’ ALA Promotions stablemate Jonas Sultan.
And while Nietes would rather not have to face a compatriot, like Palicte said, it’s simply business.
“Filipino versus Filipino ang laban, so wala tayong magagawa dun kasi mandatory, so dapat maglaban. Ang sa amin lang, ipakita lang namin yung talento namin, yung galing namin atsaka yung magandang laban namin, ipakita namin sa mga tao, sa mga boxing fans dito sa US.”
Photo by Tom Hogan