by Nick Giongco
Denied the last time in Los Angeles, Donnie Nietes gets another chance to become a four-division Monday when he meets Kazuto Ioka of Japan for the vacant World Boxing Organization super-flyweight crown at the Wynn Cotai in Macau.
During the official weighin Sunday, Nietes stepped in at the division limit of 115 lbs while Ioka came in at 114.5.
Nietes’ handlers, led by two-time world title challenger Edito “Ala” Villamor swears that the chances of victory is high.
“Donnie has what it takes to win on points or by knockout,” said Villamor of the 36-year-old from Murcia, Negros Occidental.
Nietes has a 41-1-5 record with 23 KOs and will join Nonito Donaire as the Philippines’ other four-division titleholder if he beats Ioka.
Last September, Nietes was robbed of a clear win against fellow Filipino Aston Palicte for the same title when the fight was scored a draw.
Like Nietes, Ioka is likewise attempting to win a fourth world title and a win will make him the first Japanese to pull off such a feat.
Ioka, who enters the ring with a 23-1 mark with 13 KOs, will have a master giving out instructions in the corner: Cuban Ismael Salas.
Salas is credited for training 19 world champions and is known for being a strategic genius.
“I am coming to Macau to start a new chapter in Japanese boxing history,” said Ioka.
Tonight at 7, Nietes will be right in front of him and prevent him from doing so.