Donnie Nietes to face Juan Alejo in U.S. debut
MANILA, Philippines – RING junior flyweight champion Donnie Nietes will make his U.S. debut on Oct. 17 when he faces unheralded contender Juan Alejo at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Nietes (36-1-4, 21 knockouts) will be making the eighth defense of the WBO title he won in 2011 after moving up from 105 following a reign at strawweight. The 33-year-old from Bacolod City, Philippines, last fought in July, outpointing mandatory challenger Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
Nietes suffered a minor ligament tear in his right hand during the fight, though the injury didn’t require surgery.
Alejo (21-3, 13 KOs) of Guadalupe, Mexico, will be taking a significant step up in competition. The combined record of his last five opponents is just 63-56-5, though he hasn’t been defeated since losing his first three bouts in 2009.
Nietes’ promoter, Michael Aldeguer of ALA Promotions, says they settled on the eighth-ranked Alejo in part because there were few Hispanic boxers remaining in the WBO’s top 15 whom Nietes hadn’t already beaten.
The date coincides with RING flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez’s fight with Brian Viloria in New York City, which Aldeguer says is just a fluke. Nietes could be moving up to flyweight in the near future to clash with elite 112-pounders in a more literal sense.
“The long-term (plan) is for (Nietes) to be more exposed in the U.S.,” Aldeguer told RingTV.com. “He’s going to be training with his conditioning coach (Nick Curson) with more time to assess him. If he’s ready we’re hoping he can go up to 112 next year.”
The show will be the first American venture for ALA Promotions, which is based in Cebu City, Philippines, and will also feature several of the company’s young prospects, including junior welterweight Jason Pagara (36-2, 22 KOs), his junior featherweight brother Albert Pagara (24-0, 17 KOs) and featherweight Mark Magsayo (11-0, 9 KOs).
The Pagara brothers and Magsayo are scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on Sept. 6 to train, while Nietes will arrive the second week of September.
Aldeguer said the fights will take place at StubHub’s 8,000-capacity tennis venue and added that tickets ranging from $25-$100 will go on sale Sept. 3.