CEBU CITY—Donnie Nietes will finally fight again in Cebu for the first time in almost two years and what a fight it promises to be.
Nietes, the country’s longest reigning world champion at over eight years, will gun for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world flyweight belt against Komgrich Nantapech of Thailand on April 29, at a still to be determined venue in Cebu in the main event of Pinoy Pride 40.
ALA Promotions usually holds its flagship program Pinoy Pride at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino but staged its last version, Milan Melindo’s title shot in Pinoy Pride 39, at the Cebu Coliseum.
“We are happy that his fight for his third division will be here so that it would be fair. We saw what happened with (Melvin) Jerusalem, who could have won his fight in Thailand,” said his coach and trainer Edmund Villamor.
Melvin Jerusalem lost a close fight against undefeated Wanheng Manayothin, 114-113, 115-113, 114-113, in Thailand last month. He was deducted a point for a low blow in the eighth round.
Nietes was the World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimum weight belt from Sept. 30, 2007 until he vacated it after four title defenses, including three in Mexico.
On Oct. 8, 2011, he defeated Ramon Garcia Hirales for the WBO world light flyweight title and defended the belt nine times, including against Francisco Rodriguez Jr. in his last fight in Cebu on July 11, 2015.
His last defense of the belt was against Raul Garcia on May 28, 2016, before he climbed the flyweight division and beat Edgar Sosa in his debut.
Nietes is 39-1-4 and hasn’t lost a fight in over 13 years.
On the other hand, Nantapech is on a tear, having won his last 15 fights after an ugly two-year spell that saw him lose three of five fights.
Nantapech, who fights as Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, suffered his first loss to Albert Pagara on Nov. 15, 2012, and lost anew to Sho Ishida six months later.
He won twice but lost to Froilan Saludar on Oct. 26, 2013. Since then, he has gone 15-0 and knocked out 11 of his opponents.
“He fights differently now,” said Villamor of the Thai challenger who lost to Pagara.Last year, Nonito Donaire defended his belt against Zsolt Bedak at the Cebu City Sports Center.