CARSON, Calif. — Filipino boxer Donnie “Ahas” Nietes dispelled any doubts about his viability as a flyweight by defeating former WBC champion Edgar Sosa to claim the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) title at the StubHub Center on Saturday, September 24.
Nietes, who now holds a professional record of 39-1-4 (win-loss-draw), earned the judges’ nod in all 12 rounds of the fight to win a unanimous 120-108 decision. His opponent seemed to play the aggressor in order to make up for lost rounds, especially later in the fight when Nietes managed to land devastating counterattacks.
An overhand right from the first-time flyweight late in the tenth round visibly rattled Sosa. The more experienced fighter managed to avoid an extended trip to the canvas, but drops to a professional record of 52-10 after Saturday night.
“Hindi ako nagmamadali na i-knockout si Sosa (I wasn’t in a hurry to knockout Sosa),” Nietes told reporters and fight fans after the match.
His decisive win was preceded by strong performances from Filipino boxers throughout the event’s main card.
After earning a controversial victory from what turned out to be an accidental bumping of heads in his first fight against Juan “El Penita” Jimenez, ”King” Arthur Villanueva came back to settle the score in spectacular fashion. Moments after escaping from the corner of the ring during the second round, Villanueva caught Jimenez with a fierce right cross as the challenger stepped around “King” in an attempt to deliver a blow of his own.
That punch sent “El Penita” sprawling face first into the canvas and drew a collective gasp from fight fans in the arena. Referee Jimmy Cantu stopped the fight as Jimenez, who now holds a record of 22-11-0, struggled to find his legs, resulting in Villanueva’s successful defense of his WBO Asia-Pacific Bantamweight title. The victor improved his record to 30-1-0.
Meanwhile, Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo handily defeated Ramiro Robles, who was a late replacement on the fight lineup with a current professional record of 13-6-1. Magsayo scored knockdowns in the second and seventh rounds, but both fighters managed to go the distance. After earning a unanimous decision, “Magnifico” retained his recently won WBO featherweight title and his undefeated (15-0) professional record.
Saturday’s matches showcased the formidability of fighters coming out of the Philippines, and signaled promise for the future of Filipino boxing. Nietes had told members of the media that he wanted to explore heavier weight classes in pursuit of more illustrious matchups.
“Mate-test ko kung hanggang saan ang lakas ko dito sa 112 (pounds) (I’m testing my strength at 112 (pounds)),” Nietes said after his victory.
“Ahas,” who hasn’t lost a fight in 12 years, proved on Saturday night that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the flyweight division.