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Elorde clan to fete Nietes

Manila, Philippines – World Boxing Organization light flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, who retained his world crown in June last year, will be honored as one of only four Filipino world champions in 2012 during the Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Memorial Awards and Banquet of Champions on March 25 at the Sofitel Hotel.

The 30-year-old Nietes, a janitor-turned-world champion from the stable of Cebu boxing promoter Antonio L. Aldeguer, retained his WBO light flyweight crown with a unanimous decision over Mexican challenger Felipe Salguero on June 2 at the Resorts World Hotel.

He went on to stop unseasoned Thai Danai Meendaeng 2:46 into the fifth round at the Lamberto Macias Sports Complex in Dumaguete City on Dec. 3 to finish the year with a ring record of 31-1-2, 17 by knockout.

Nietes joins fellow boxers of the year WBO and IBF super bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire Jr., WBO and WBA flyweight champion Brian Viloria, IBF light flyweight ruler Johnriel Casimero and WBC flyweight champ Sonny Boy Jaro in the annual awards rites held in honor of one of the country’s greatest boxers ­ Da Flash, world junior lightweight champion from 1960 to 1967.

The rites, held for the 13th straight year and hosted by the Elorde clan led by the legend’s wife Laura, will also commemorate the 78th birth anniversary of the boxing legend, the first Filipino boxer enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Donaire, who won all four title bouts in 2012, will receive the Flash Elorde Memorial Belt, the highest honor given to a boxer who stood out among Filipino world boxing champions during the previous year.

The awards rites, sponsored by COBRA Energy Drink, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes and PAGCOR, will also honor Filipino and international champions as well as the year’s best promoter, trainer, judge and referee, the best fight of the year and most promising boxer.