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Nietes to fight for vacant IBF crown

Former world minimumweight and light-fly champion Donnie Nietes will fight for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight title vacated by fellow Cebu-based puncher Johnriel Casimero, who has decided to invade the super-fly ranks next year.

Nietes (39-1-4 with 22 KOs) has been eyed to battle Thailand’s Eaktawan Krungthepthonburi (22-3 with 15 KOs) and the fight is likely to be held in the country with Manila, Cebu City or Bacolod City as possible sites.

“I am happy that I will get the opportunity to fight for a third world title,” said Nietes yesterday after returning to his native Negros Occidental from Cebu.

While a date has yet to be agreed upon, Nietes expects the fight to happen either in March or April.

Casimero was forced to relinquish the title owing not only to weight woes but the desire to fight for more money by taking on the division’s big guns.

Nietes will kick off his training camp as soon as the holidays are over, saying that he will keep his weight in check during the break.

“I won’t allow myself to gain unnecessary weight,” said Nietes, who turns 35 in May.

With Casimero’s decision to vacate, the country now has three reigning world champions in welterweight Manny Pacquiao and bantamweight of the World Boxing Organization and super-fly Jerwin Ancajas in the IBF.