Palicte takes on Martinez for right to challenge Nietes

Roy Luarca
Filipino fighter Aston Palicte looks to prove that he deserves another crack at Donnie Nietes


ALL-FILIPINO. Aston Palicte (right) hopes for another chance against Filipino champion Donnie Nietes after the two fought to a split draw last September. File photo from HBO Boxing 


MANILA, Philippines – Filipino prospect Aston Palicte resumes his quest for international acclaim when he tangles with unbeaten Puerto Rican Jose Martinez on Thursday, January 31 (Friday, February 1,  Manila time) in a World Boxing Organization junior bantamweight title eliminator at Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine, California.

The winner of the 12-rounder will become the mandatory challenger to reigning champion Donnie Nietes, who beat Japanese Kazuto Ioka by split decision last December 31 in Macau. (READ: Before year ends, Nietes captures 4th world title)

Palicte and Nietes fought to a split draw in an all-Filipino battle last September 8, with Nietes eventually given the chance to bag his fourth world crown against Ioka. (READ: Dubious draw denies Donnie Nietes fourth division title)

Now, it’s Palicte’s turn to prove he deserves another crack at Nietes and the 115-pound division crown.

The 27-year-old Palicte checked in at 114.8 pounds, slightly heavier than the 26-year-old Martinez’s 114.6 during the official weigh-in on Wednesday.

Having trained alongside Manny Pacquiao at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood last December, Palicte (24 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw, with 20 knockouts) is confident of handing Martinez (20-0-2, 13 knockouts) his first defeat.

Tall and rangy, the 5-foot-8 Palicte enjoys a 2 1/2 inch height and 4-inch reach advantage over Martinez, whose two draws were with Mexican Alejandro Santiago Barrios, best remembered for holding Filipino Jerwin Ancajas, the International Boxing Federation junior bantamweight titlist, to a split draw last September 29 in Oakland, California.

According to Palicte, pride of Bago City, Negros Occidental, his fight with Martinez is very important because a win will move him closer to his dream of becoming a world champion – just like his chief trainer, Rodel Mayol, the former World Boxing Council light flyweight king. –