MANILA – Negrense boxer Donnie Nietes hopes to end the year with a bang as he aims for the vacant WBO super flyweight belt against tough Japanese boxer Kazuto Ioka tonight at Wynne Palace Cotai in Macau.
The Murcia, Negros Occidental native will aim for his fourth world championship in as many divisions after previously ruling the minimumweight, light flyweight and flyweight category.
The 36-year-old Nietes had a chance to clinch his fourth world title last September but his match with fellow Negrense Aston Palicte in California ended in a controversial draw.
“I believe 100 percent that I will be a world champion again by New Year,” Nietes said. “I have carefully studied his style of play and I have already figured out how to defeat Kazuto.”
“Learning from my experience against Aston, I am going for a knockout here,” he added. “I will be more aggressive against Kazuto. As much as possible, I do not want to leave the decision to the judges.”
Ioka, who recently returned from over a year of layoff to score a win over McWilliams Arroyo, will also be eyeing his fourth world championship in as many divisions, just like Nietes.
“I feel that this will be a terrific fight because I’ve always had tremendous respect for Donnie Nietes and I’m honored that this fight is happening,” said Ioka. “It is really destiny that both of us on our different paths in life will meet in Macau.”
“For myself, history is on the line, as no boxer in Japan history has ever been a four-weight champion. I’m sure, in the future, many Japanese boxers will have this opportunity but I’m really excited to be in this position to achieve history now,” he added.
Nietes will enter the match with an impressive 41-1-5 win-loss-draw card, including 23 knockout wins, while the 29-year-old Ioka has 23-1-0 win-loss-draw card, with 13 stoppage wins./PN