Donnie Nietes' ring guile and experience proved be the overriding factor in his split-decision victory over Japan's Kazuto Ioka on Monday, which led to a world junior bantamweight title.
"It was a very tight, tactical na laban ang nakita natin na naging favorable kay Donnie simply because of his experience," said fight analyst Dennis Principe.
Nietes engaged Ioak, 7 years his junior, in a phone-booth battle, using every trick in the book to score heavy shots to the head and the body.
He also connected several overhand rights to Ioka's head whenever he had to throw shots from a distance.
"Both were throwing bombs, pero mas maraming pinatamang bomba si Donnie," Principe said.
Frustrated by Nietes' infighting, Ioka changed tactics and engaged from a distance late in the fight, but Nietes had a comfortable enough cushion in the judges' eyes to stave off Ioka's challenge.
Now that Nietes holds the World Boxing Organization belt, he can now go after the more recognizable names in the junior bantamweight division.
" ‘Yun naman ang kailangan niya. A chip para may ilalatag sa table para maging palatable sa mga super-flys na gusto niyang hamunin. He will take on anyone and I don’t think he will be choosy," said Nietes.
"We're talking about (Roman) Chocolatito Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and even Jerwin Ancajas."
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