As Donnie Nietes takes his career a level higher on ALA Promotions’ next US event on September 24 at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California, the longest-reigning Filipino world champion ever and current WBO junior flyweight champion says he’s “very excited” to be fighting at 112 lbs.
Before his most recent title defense against former world champion Raul “Rayito” Garcia in his hometown in Bacolod City last May, Nietes had already decided to move up in weight. “I was ready to leave the light flyweight division before (fighting) Garcia. I was thinking he would be my last opponent at 108lbs. The next thing I did was to ask my manager and promoter and I am very glad they granted my request.”
Nietes is 38-1-4, with 22 wins via KO. He’s successfully defended his WBO world junior flyweight title nine times since winning it in 2011 and before that he held the WBO minimumweight title, winning it in 2007, and defending that title four times.
You didn’t try to hide your plans to move up in weight ever since your first US fight at Stubhub Center, CA October of last year. Why? What’s in it for a Donnie Nietes?
I want to fight bigger names. I am very lucky to have a manager and promoter who believe in what I can do and they have always supported me. But I believe I’m done with the 108 division. There’s no one else for me. I want to go after the other world champions out there. One world champion at a time, but I want to fight more if I can.
How do you plan to fare in the flyweight division?
I feel much more comfortable now that I’ve started training in a bigger weight. I mean, even when I was fighting for 108lbs, I was training with bigger fighters. I think this is a much better weight for me. There’s not a lot of adjustment, but there’s more room for improvement. I want to be a better fighter still.
How’s your training so far? Did your team have to change anything?
I started earlier this time. I felt I wouldn’t be at my best if I didn’t start sooner. Right now, I’ve done two weeks’ worth of sparring and more that 20 rounds in total. I would say the training’s at the same level with before, but of course, we want to make sure that the speed, power, and skills are at a higher level, now that I’m fighting for a higher weight division. It should all be equally on the same level.
What do you think of Edgar Sosa?
He’s Mexican. That means he is a tough fighter. From the beginning, Mexicans have proven they are one of the best kinds there is. He’s a former world champion, current WBC #4 in the world, and he’s fought some of the best in his division, which is new to me. I will be sure not to let my guard down and pour all what we’ve trained for, because I know this won’t be an easy first (flyweight) fight for me.
Earlier in this interview, you said you’re very glad you’re finally moving up in weight. How do you feel right now?
Yes, and I’m very excited. I get a lot of positive comments from the people who’ve waited for this move and it gives me so much encouragement. But I want to be very prepared too, that’s why I’ve decided to train earlier. I want to give a great fight as I make my 112-lb. debut.
How do you want the people, especially boxing fans and yours, to think about your most recent career move?
I just want the people to know there’s a lot left in me. I feel great with my new weight. As a boxer, I still want to do and accomplish so much.