by Nick Giongco
Donnie Nietes was brought to deep waters by Thai rival Komgrich Nantapech before winning the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown – his third title in as many weight classes – on a unanimous decision late Saturday night at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.
While Nietes was successful in landing the big ones, Nantapech refused to even hit the floor.
“Matibay talaga,” Nietes told the Bulletin less than 24 hours after becoming the third winningest Filipino fighter after Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire.
“Akala ko tutumba na sya sa sixth or seventh round pero matibay talaga,” said Nietes, who ran his record to 40-1-4 with 22 KOs.
Nietes believes he has an explanation why Nantapech was hard to get rid of.
“Sanay kasi ang maraming Thai fighters sa bugbog dahil sa nag-Muay Thai sila before going into boxing,” said Nietes.
Banking on his ring generalship, uppercuts, overhand rights and crosses, Nietes charged at the rugged and durable Thai in the hopes of scoring an abbreviated win but simply could not.
“Ibinigay ko na lahat pero nakatayo pa rin,” he said.
Still, Nietes thinks it’s not because he lacks power at 112 lbs.
“Talagang grabe lang tumanggap ng suntok,” he added.
Nantapech dropped to 22-3 with 15 KOs.
Before taking the IBF title, Nietes had reigned as World Boxing Organization minimumweight (105 lbs) and light-fly (108 lbs) king.
Nietes’ victory is a landmark moment in Philippine boxing.
Only Pacquiao and Donaire have won more than three world titles with eight and four, respectively.
Other two-division champions include brothers Dodie Boy (light-fly and fly) and Gerry Peñalosa (super-fly and bantam) and Luisito Espinosa (bantam and feather).