Donnie Ahas Nietes Exigencies
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Tue, 24 Nov 2020
Former multi division world champion Donnie Ahas Nietes has confessed to ruing his decision to vacate his then newly won WBO super flyweight title early last year.
Nietes won the said WBO title in December 2018 in Macau, China by pounding out a hard fought split decision over Kazuto Ioka of Japan who, like him, was then gunning for a fourth world championship in as many weight divisions.
Actually, it was his second chance to win the title as in September of the same year, he was mandated by the WBO to fight fellow Pinoy Aston Palicte for the the title vacated by Japan's Naoya Inoue who had moved up to the bantamweights. Nietes and Palicte fought to a draw in the USA, leaving the same title vacant. The WBO then picked Nietes and Ioka to fight to finally fill the vacancy which in a bout that Nietes eventually won.
Nietes (L) celebrates after winning by split decision over Ioka (R) in Macau December of 2018.
But when it became inevitable that Nietes would have to face Palicte again in his initial title defense following Palicte's winning an eliminator, Nietes decided to just give up the crown early in 2019 and sought bigger fights against the division's marquee names as Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzales and Srisaket Sor Rungvusai.
Nietes at that time thought that if he gave up the title, Palicte would have a big chance of winning it back for the country.
He was sadly mistaken as Kazuto Ioka stopped Palicte in their own WBO ordered fight in Japan to win the title. Nietes' loss became Ioka's gain, becoming Japan's first four division world champion.
Meanwhile Nietes failed in luring any of the other division's big guns as Estrada, Gonzalez and Rungvusai to a fight as they were themselves preoccupied in their own series and unfinished business as the rightful and legitimate top dog at 115 lbs.
With the other top names as UK's Khalid Yafai, Mexican Carlos Cuadras and even Australian Jason Moloney unwilling to fight him, and Nietes not keen in exploring a possible all Filipino fight with IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas, Donnie was forced to sit out most of 2019.
Nietes however had a change of mind towards the end of last year. He traveled to Japan in December where the WBO was then holding its convention and presented an appeal that he be reinstated in its world ranking for the opportunity to regain the title he vacated.
His appeal appeared to have fallen on deaf ears as the WBO would not have taken lightly his earlier dropping its title in a bid for big fights against champions of rival organizations.
Nietes (C) receives an award from WBO president Valcarcel (left of Nietes) and WBO vice-president Panoncillo (right of Nietes) during the WBO Convention in Japan, December, 2019.
Since his becoming its minimumweight champion, Nietes has also won two of his three other world titles with the WBO hence it could be said that the organization had been very supportive of Donnie. That would probably explain the apparent snob.
To compound Nietes' miseries, early this year the Covid pandemic forced a lockdown even on boxing that prompted even Donnie's own long established ALA Promotion to close shop.
To date, WBO has not reinstated Nietes in its ratings at 115 lbs. In fairness, none of the other world sanctioning and rating bodies have Nietes listed since middle of the current year.
Not yet, let us hope.
For Nietes has yet to make his ring return after nearly two years.
Luckily for Donnie, after ALA Promotion went out of business, MTK Global has recently picked and signed him up together with a few other former ALA wards.
MTK Global has promised to not only revive Nietes career but finally give him the chance to fight the big names he has been seeking to have in the ring for years.
Incidentally, MTK also just recently signed up WBA super flyweight regular champion Joshua Franco. This following his controversial rematch with Andrew Moloney that was ruled as no contest on account of headbutt injury suffered by the American.
Pushing 40 years old however, Donnie Ahas has only so much time left albeit he has not yet shown signs of slowing down or already on the slide.
What is immediately important is that Nietes gets back to action ASAP and win convincingly against a credible, if possible rated opponent.
He is scheduled to fight this December but MTK has yet to identify his opponent.
As for his return to the world championship stage, it depends on many factors.
What is clear is that a fight with any of the big 3 of Estrada, Gonzalez and SSR would have to wait until the three are done with their own series as the WBC has scheduled next year. A fight with the eventual victor may happen by early 2022 if ever.
Gonzalez (L) and Estrada will likely fight again for their unfinished business.
Donnie getting to contention to win back his WBO super fly title lies on his reinclusion as contender depending on the quality and result of his comeback fight/s.
Incidentally, Ioka will defend his WBO super flyweight crown for the second time against former WBO flyweight king Kosei Tanaka on New Year's Eve. If Ioka wins, he may want to avenge his earlier loss to Nietes. But if Tanaka wins, that's a new ballgame.
A fight with MTK stablemate Joshua Franco for the WBA secondary title (Chocolatito Gonzalez is the super champion) could be an option for next year but it all depends on Franco winning over Moloney in their own rubber match early in 2021. It is a long shot but makeable.
But for his sake, it may well be advisable for Donnie Ahas to not totally close the door on a possible title try against IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas who himself has been looking for a big fight against a big name for years.
That is not entirely a bad idea. Especially if MTK and Top Rank would agree to collaborate.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com and by phone 09215309477.
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