By Nick Giongco
Donnie Nietes doesn’t consider his landmark win over Japanese Kazuto Ioka in Macau for his fourth world crown as the most difficult and challenging in his close to 19-year career.
Nietes, who acquired the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-flyweight title with a split decision on New Year’s Eve, points to two fights as being the hardest.
“The first fight with (Mexican) Moises Fuentes (in March 2013) and that one against Komgrich Nantapetch (of Thailand in 2017),” said Nietes in Pilipino, noting how he struggled when his bout with Fuentes was ruled a draw.
Against Nantapetch, Nietes had to walk the tightrope as the Thai kept coming forward and only his vast experienced propelled him past his gutsy foe.
Nietes fought Fuentes again over a year later and did much better as he scored an emphatic stoppage win over the Mexican.
Against Ioka, Nietes insists there was never any doubt that he was the clear winner.
“It wasn’t as hard as the fights with Fuentes and Nantapetch because I knew I was in control and I landed the more telling blows,” said the 36-year-old from Murcia, Negros Occidental.
“If the decision didn’t go my way, I would have been broken-hearted by now,’ he added.
Nietes’ handlers are still trying to determine what’s best for him but he could be back in the ring as early as March.