Sunday, April 02, 2023  |


Nietes overcomes tough Nantapech, wins IBF flyweight title

Fighters Network

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Donnie Nietes had to work extra hard but got the job done against Thailand’s Komgrich Nantapech, winning a unanimous decision and the vacant IBF flyweight title Saturday at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City, Philippines.

The Thai judge had it 115-113, while the Japanese and Filipino judges had the fight 117-111, all for Nietes, who joins Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire as the only boxers from the Philippines to win titles in at least three weight class.

From the early going, Nietes (40-1-4, 22 knockouts) had a clear advantage in speed and craft, landing at will with his left jab and right cross, and mixing in uppercuts with both hands from in close and the outside.

Nantapech (22-4, 15 KOs) never stopped coming, and by the middle rounds his size and strength began to wear on Nietes. Nietes later said he hurt his left hand in the middle rounds from landing his jab.

Nietes, who is a few weeks shy of his 35th birthday, found a second wind in the later rounds, pulling out the 10th and 12th rounds with renewed vigor.

“At first I thought I can knock him down in the early rounds, but he’s tough. Very tough,” said Nietes afterward. “That’s why we didn’t get the knockout.”

“I think this is the best accomplishment in my life because my name is written in Philippine boxing history next to Pacquiao and Donaire,” said Nietes, who had a cut over his right eye and bruises around his face to remind him of the fight he’d just been in.

ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer says he has TV dates on ABS-CBN of September 16 and November 18, on which Nietes could make a voluntary defense, with Bacolod City, Philippines being the likely location.

“Right now the big names [Juan Francisco] Estrada and [Roman] Gonzalez are at 115. I think looking at Donnie now, the Thai was a little bigger at 112. The biggest fights out there would be unification, but that’s something we don’t know. We’ll try to make it happen,” said Aldeguer.

“Time is running out. He’s not young anymore.”

Dodie Boy Penalosa Sr, who was in attendance to watch, says Nietes has earned his place among the greatest fighters in Philippine boxing history.

“For me he is a great fighter,” said Penalosa, a two-division champion like his younger brother, Gerry Penalosa. “For me he’s one of the best.”

Magsayo blasts out Nampapeche, Santisima goes full 10

Mark Magsayo had said he expected his fight against Tanzania’s Issa Nampapeche would be easy. He made good on his assessment by dropping his opponent with two quick knockdowns to finish the fight at 2:05 of the first round.

Magsayo (16-0, 12 KOs) scored the first knockdown as he picked off a right hand and countered a hook attempt from Nampapeche (24-8-4, 11 KOs) with a shorter hook. The Tanzanian visitor rose up but was sent back down on a triple hook from the Bohol native, after which referee Tony Pesons stopped the fight without a count.

The 21-year-old Magsayo had said before the fight that he wanted to face tougher opposition, and wasn’t pleased with his opposition being degraded after surviving a six-round war against former title challenger Chris Avalos last year.

Aldeguer said he could headline Pinoy Pride 41 on July 8 if he had a good performance, and Magsayo may have shown just that.

Afterward, Magsayo performed his customary backflip celebration, which he only displays for first-round knockout wins.

In the opening fight of the main televised card, Jeo Santisima (13-2, 11 KOs) was extended the full 10 rounds for the first time, blasting away at Indonesia’s Master Suro (11-9-1, 2 KOs) for a unanimous decision win by the scores of 100-89 on all three scorecards.

Santisima had won his previous 10 fights by knockout and came out looking to extend that streak to 11 with heavy bodypunches and hooks upstairs.

Santisima’s fast start gave way to a more measured pace in the middle rounds as he conserved his stamina for the possibility of a long fight. Suro, 17 years older at 37, showed why he had only been stopped once in his career as he stood up to Santisima’s best shots. Santisima scored the bout’s only knockdown at the end of the sixth round as a cuffing right hand caught Suro between the guard and sent him down.

Suro survived the remainder of the fight as Santisima fought in bursts, with Santisima fighting past the fifth round for the first time ever.

The fights were televised in the Philippines on ABS-CBN.

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.

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