Former four-weight division champion Donnie Nietes is all set to make his ring return by facing Pablo Carrillo of Colombia for the vacant WBO International super-flyweight title in Dubai.
The Filipino cleared the super flyweight limit (115 pounds) by weighing in at 52.1 kilograms (114.8 pounds) on Friday. Carillo, on the other hand, came in at exactly 52 kilograms (114.6 pounds).
“Siyempre excited na excited ako kasi first comeback ko eto so uhaw na uhaw talaga ako,” said the Filipino fighter nicknamed "Ahas."
Nietes, who has won world titles at super-flyweight, flyweight, light-flyweight and minimumweight, will be fighting for the first time since December 2018.
The comeback is included in the card to be headlined by Jamel Herring's WBO super-featherweight title defense against Carl Frampton at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai.
Nietes has been aching to fight since he was sidelined by the pandemic for more than 2 years.
“Since last year nag-start na ako ng training dahil dapat may laban ako noong December pero hindi natuloy so ngayong natuloy itong laban na ito, mataas-taas ang preparasyon namin," said Nietes.
Nietes is looking to impress fight fans and promoters as he aims to climb his way back to the top of the super flyweight ranks.
He wants to secure a dream fight against any of the three kings of the super flyweight division: Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Fight analyst Ed Tolentino said Nietes is already at the twilight of his career and will need to go all out if he wants to get that lucrative bout he's been wanting.
"It is now or never for Donnie. If he wins impressively, he will have to go all out for a title shot," said Tolentino.
But Tolentino said it is doable, especially since Nietes never neglected his body.
"It will be a challenge, but nobody has a better chance of pulling it off than Nietes," he said. "Alaga sa katawan itong si Donnie. And we have to respect the fact that he has not lost since 2004, is unbeaten against Mexican foes, and has won 4 division crowns."
"Ahas may just have one or two tricks left up his sleeve to sting some of the marquee names in the division."
Nietes, meanwhile, asked for the support of his Pinoy fans.
“Sa lahat lahat ng Pilipino, sa lahat ng mga boxing fans, inimbitahan ko kayo na suportahan ninyo ako sa laban ko ngayong April 3. I-pag pray ninyo po ako sa laban namin. Maraming salamat po, God bless.” -- With a report from Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN Middle East Bureau
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