Filipino champion Donnie "Ahas" Nietes
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino champion Donnie "Ahas" Nietes hopes his smashing victory over Mexican rival Moises Fuentes was enough to elevate him to the sport's elite even as he bared plans to challenge the other champions in the light-flyweight division.
Nietes knocked down Fuentes twice in the ninth round and eventually finished the Mexican off with just seconds to go before the bell rang, allowing him to successfully defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight belt.
"Fuentes is one of the best fighters in this division, and by beating him, I am able to prove that I am one of the best," said Nietes, as quoted by Dennis Principe in a Boxing Scene report.
"I hope this win will make me one of the superstars in boxing," he added.
Nietes was able to repeatedly connect with combinations, while using his counter-punching to keep Fuentes on the back foot. He was in complete control by the second half of the fight, culminating in a brutal ninth round that saw the Mexican dropped three times.
The third knockdown proved to be the last. After beating the 10-count for the second time, Fuentes absorbed a crushing overhand right from Nietes that sent him to the canvas again, and forced the referee to stop the fight.
"My biggest adjustment for this fight was the attack to the body," said Nietes. "During our first fight, I exclusively went for the head. This time, I became more patient and worked slowly in getting this knockout."
Nietes and Fuentes' first encounter in 2013 had ended in a majority draw, but this time, the Filipino got a statement win.
"I want to face all the champions, or the best fighters out there," said Nietes, who now holds a 33-1-4 win-loss-draw record. "I may have two more title defenses before I move up in weight."
Nietes has not lost a match since 2004, and has successfully defended his light-flyweight belt for the fourth time. He also annexed the vacant RING light-flyweight title.