Filipino champion Donnie Nietes and Japanese Kazuto Ioka tangle for the WBO super flyweight belt
MANILA, Philippines – Donnie "Ahas" Nietes gets another chance to become a four-division world champion when he and Japanese Kazuto Ioka dispute the vacant World Boxing Organization super flyweight crown on December 31 in Macau.
The 35-year-old Nietes came close to joining the ranks of eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao and five-division titlist Nonito Donaire Jr. as winningest Filipino fighters, but had to settle for a split draw against compatriot Aston Palicte in their title fight on September 8 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Afforded yet another opportunity by the WBO, Nietes is determined to do good against Ioka, who is also a three-division champion and is in his prime at 29.
Nietes, ranked No. 1, is already training for the bout at the ALA gym in Cebu City, while Ioka, rated No. 3, is also gearing up following a unanimous decision conquest of Puerto Rican McWilliams Arroyo last September.
In its just-concluded convention in Panama City, the WBO also mandated Palicte to fight against any of its top 15 contenders in the 115-pound division.
Whoever wins between Nietes and Ioka is mandated to face the victor between Palicte and his yet to be named opponent.
Both Nietes and Ioka have tasted defeat only once in their careers. Nietes is unbeaten in the last 13 years and totes a 41-1-5 record with 23 knockouts.
Ioka, on the other hand, is unscathed since 2014 and owns a 23-1 slate with 13 knockouts.
Initially, the Ioka camp wanted the tussle for the title vacated by Japanese Naoya Inoue to be held in Japan, while ALA Promotions, which handles Nietes, wanted it in the Philippines.