NEVER TOO OLD
Nietes vows to silence critics who doubt if he can still win a world title at 35 years old
Age is just a number. So for Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, being 35 years old shouldn’t be a problem in the sport of boxing.
This he’ll try to prove when he fights Eaktawan Morkrunthepthonburi of Thailand for the vacant IBF world flyweight title in April.
Online critics are questioning Nietes’ capacity to win another title because of his age but the Murcia, Negros Occidental native vowed to silence them come fight night.
“Most of them (critics) don’t know what boxing is so they open their mouths and make comments. That won’t stop me from giving honor to our country. I don’t mind them at all.” Nietes told Cebu Daily News. “If I win the world title on April, that does not mean that it will be the last title that I will win. I will continue to pursue more titles and move to a higher division. I feel more powerful and faster and I don’t even feel old.”
Nietes holds a record of 39-1-4 (win-loss-draw) record with 22 knockout wins and is a two-division world champion.
Morkrunthepthonburi is ranked number four in the IBF flyweight division who holds a record of 22-3-0,15KOs.
Nietes, who is the longest reigning Filipino boxing world champion, said he can still fight even when he reaches 40. He said that he feels younger, more powerful and faster when he stepped up to the regular flyweight division last year, in the process relinquishing his WBO junior flyweight title.
Even at 35, Nietes proved he was as dangerous as before. Last year, he successfully defended his WBO junior flyweight title in Bacolod City by scoring a technical knockout victory against Mexican Raul Garcia. After moving up to the flyweight division, Nietes snagged the WBO Intercontinental flyweight title against Edgar Sosa in the United States.
“I want to move to another division and fight big names,” the ALA Boxing Gym prized boxer said.
Better in Cebu
When he learned that the fight would most likely be held in Cebu through his promoter Michael P. Aldeguer, he felt more motivated.
“I was very happy and excited at the same time that the fight will be happening here. I was kind of worried if it would happen in Thailand because we all know that there’s a lot controversial decisions being made there,” said Nietes.
His stablemate, minimumweight prospect Melvin Jerusalem, recently fought in Thailand for the WBC world minimumweight title against Wanheng Menayothin last January 25. Jerusalem lost via unanimous decision in a fight that some thought went the other way.
although he believes he has homecourt advantage, he is still not taking any chances.
“I’ve been training since January here in Cebu. He’s not a typical Thai boxer so I must train hard for this fight, but I am very confident that I will win this fight and become a three-division world champion,” said Nietes.
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