nietes.140421.450wPhoto:  by Dong Secuya –

Article by:  Ronnie Nathanielsz –

WBO light flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes is in terrific shape for his mandatory rematch against Interim champion Moises Fuentes of Mexico in the main event of “Pinoy Pride XXV” at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.

Strength and conditioning coach Nick Curson told the Standard that Nietes “looks amazing. His  physique has changed and so has his endurance which was always kind of suspect” as evidenced in his first fight against Fuentes when Nietes appeared to fade in the last couple of rounds which was aggravated by two cuts he suffered above his eyebrows.

Curson revealed that they had done some “altitude training” using a simulator which he brought from the US and has used for the last month. He indicated that as a result of his overall training regimen Nietes “looks phenomenal.”

He said Nietes “has been sparring with some great guys such as Milan Melindo and former IBF light flyweight champion Johnreil Casimero who lost his title on the scales last week when he came in five pounds over the 108 limit.

The strength and conditioning coach told us that in his first fight with Fuentes, Nietes “tired out” and that now “he knows his faults and has been working on the fight strategy.”

He echoed what trainer Edito “Ala” Villamor told us and that is Nietes “looked great (in sparring) and he is ready to go. His conditioning is there and I don’t see why he can’t win.”

Curson was clearly impressed with featherweight Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista who is making a comeback after a close , twelve round split decision loss to Jose Ramirez more than one year ago.

He said Bautista has “improved so much. He was so tense, so tight in his last fight that every punch appeared it would knock him down.” Curson disclosed that the flaws have been corrected and “now he’s got head movement, his muscles are more relaxed and he looks like he is 19 again and the kid they were talking about as the next Manny Pacquiao.”

During a workout last Saturday, Curson said Bautista “ he was like a Mike Tyson. This kid was so loose and explosive. It was great to see.”

Recalling that “Boom Boom’S father “used to throw him in the water when he was 5 or 6 years old to get the fishing nets out he has known hard work his whole life” but pointed out that “brute strength doesn’t work well in boxing.”

Curson said “ you have to have a little bit of finesse, combined with a little bit of that and explosive power and that’s what we’ve been working on. I think he’ll look good in this fight and show great improvement. I think it will take one or two more fights to see what he is really capable of. I think at that point he will be a world champion. I really do.”–77638




By Rich Mazon –

Reigning WBO minimumweight (105 lbs.) champion Merlito Sabillo (23-0-1, 12 KOs) of the Philippines will be defending his world title belt in enemy territory this Saturday evening in Mexico (Sunday morning in the Philippines).

Sabillo, of Negros Occidental, is scheduled to protect his diadem in Monterey, Mexico, hometown of his challenger Francisco Rodriguez Jr. in his third defense of his title.

Team Sabillo, who arrived in Monterey, Mexico from San Diego, California last Tuesday, expressed that despite the apprehension of fighting in his challenger’s hometown, he is confident that his recent training and preparation for this fight will prevail above the ring.

“Siyempre kahit sino naman po ay maalangan kasi nasa teritoryo tayo ng kalaban, pero wala tayong magagawa kasi promotion nila eh. Ang sa akin ay Diyos na lang ang nakakaalam at gagawin ko ang best ko,“ Sabillo told this writer in an interview before leaving for Mexico.

(Of course, anyone will be uncomfortable because we are in enemy territory but we can’t do anything because it is their promotions. For me, only God knows what will happen and that I will do my best.)

But his coach, Edito Villamor, head trainer of the ALA stable, has confidence that Sabillo will fare well against Rodriguez Jr. despite the favorable venue and the hometown crowd for their Mexican counterpart.

“Hindi naman kami alangan (sa paglaban sa Mexico). Sanay naman si Merlito. Noong kinuha niya yung belt ng world title, doon yun sa Colombia. Dito (US) kami nag training camp at magaling naman ang training namin dito kaya wala namang problema sa kanya,” Villamor said.

(We are not uncomfortable (of fighting in Mexico). Merlito is accustomed to fighting elsewhere. When he won the belt for the world title, it was in Colombia. We spent our training camp here (US) and our training is great here and I think there won’t be any problems for him.)

Sabillo and some of his fellow ALA stable mates trained in the States for most part of this camp, under the tutelage of trainers, Edito Villamor and Michael Domingo. They spent time in various boxing gyms in California, sparring against fighters from those gyms. Both boxer and trainer are upbeat that their time spent in training in the US will help them against Rodriguez Jr. who is ranked number 9 by the WBO.

“Malaking tulong, nakapag-training kami ng conditioning training dito under Nick Curson. Maganda naman pinagawa niya, yung mga plyometrics, lahat. Iba talaga, iba ang training dito.” said Villamor.

(It’s a big help, we underwent condition training under Nick Curson. He made them do plyometrics and other stuff. Training here is really different.)

Sabillo admitted that he noticed an improvement on his conditioning after undergoing the various strength and conditioning exercises and that also he expects no difficulty in meeting the 105 pound limit for the fight.

The 30 year-old champion is only three pounds above the weight limit last Sunday, a full week ahead of his fight.

Sabillo, who is not fond of trash-talking, made no guarantees but promised to give his best when he puts his title in the line against Rodriguez Jr.

“Hindi lang ako magsabi ng kung ano sir, basta gagawin ko lahat ng best ko para maipanalo at madepensahan ang aking title belt.”

(I don’t want to say anything sir, except that I will give my very best to win and to defend this title.)