By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.-
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines –Reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) and Ring magazine junior flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes (35-4-1, 21KOs) of Murcia and Bacolod is well-prepared to take the challenge from Mexican challenger and former unified WBO/International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight world champ Francisco Rodriguez, Jr. (17-2-1,11KO’s) on July 11 for the Pinoy Pride 31: Clash of World Champions at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
This was revealed yesterday by ALA gym’s lead trainer Edmund Villamor adding that the longest reigning Filipino champion has the edge over the Mexican when the bell rings.
“Donnie (Nietes) is more experienced than Rodriguez. He has also an edge in skills, speed and power. And, most importantly has the home court advantage,” Villamor said.
In any sport, home court is always an advantage in which gave an athlete more confidence in fighting before his home crowd. However, this doesn’t apply that much to Nietes as he is also undefeated in all his fights in Mexico – beating down his opponents despite the pressure from the home fans.
But, Villamor reiterated that they won’t be that complacent against Rodriguez as he is a former champion who has an impressive record against Filipino fighters including erstwhile WBO minimumweight champion and Bacolod-hailed Merlito ‘Tiger’ Sabillo.
Murcia town Mayor Andrew Montelibano, earlier, stressed that he also believes that the champion will retain his title.
“With the kind of conditioning and training he is in, I believe Donnie (Nietes) will retain his title. I am in contact with him personally and I can see he is more ready than ever,” Montelibano said.
Also featured in Pinoy Pride 31 is co-main event Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo alongside another promising young prospect Kevin Jake Cataraja.
The undefeated Magsayo (10-0) will face Mexican Rafael Reyes (16-4) for the vacant IBF Youth featherweight title while, Cataraja meets Indonesian Ardi Tefa for a 6-round clash.
This boxing event is presented by ALA Promotions International in partnership with ABS-CBN Sports.(WATCHMEN DAILY JOURNAL)
Photo: World champion and longest reigning Filipino champion Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes at ALA gym (JAMES TOGA/SCOOP-Bacolod Photo).