Nietes KOs Fuentes in nine to cement junior flyweight supremacy
PASAY CITY, Philippines - Donnie Nietes successfully defended his WBO world light flyweight title and won THE RING's junior flyweight lineal title with a ninth round technical knockout of Mexico’s Moises Fuentes on Saturday, May 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines. The time of stoppage was 2:56.
The victory cements Nietes’ status as the best 108-pound fighter in the world, improving his record to (33-1-4, 19 knockouts), while the former WBO strawweight champ Fuentes (19-2-1, 10 KOs) loses for the first time since 2011.
The fight was a rematch of their March 2013 fight, which ended in a majority draw.
The 28-year-old Fuentes was off to a quick start in round one. Fuentes was very busy, throwing jabs and right straights but most of his shots landed on Nietes' gloves and elbows. Nietes was selective with his punches and managed to land more clean shots.
Nietes jabbed the body and landed repeated right straights in round two. Fuentes was aggressive but couldn't seem to find his rhythm as his shots yet again landed mostly on the gloves.
Fuentes hit Nietes with a hard left hook to the body in the early going of round three. Nietes moved and attempted to counter-punch, giving way for Fuentes to be more aggressive.
Nietes managed to slow down his Mexican opponent in round 4 with a hard right hook to the body. After taking a breather, Fuentes resumed his attack until round 5 only to get outlanded by Nietes.
Nietes took a round off in 6. Fuentes took advantage of it by throwing punches in bunches and going to the body.
In round 7, Nietes slipped and countered a Fuentes punch, stunning his opponent with a right hand in round 7. Fuentes invited Nietes to attack more after getting hurt and the Filipino was more than happy to oblige.
It was all Fuentes in round 8 with his relentless pressure and body punching. Nietes did not do much in the round but throw a few jabs and right straights.
Nietes dropped Fuentes for the first time in the opening minute of round 9 but referee Robert Byrd deducted a point from Nietes for punching Fuentes while he was down. Fuentes was able to beat the count but was sent flying to the canvas after a series of Nietes combinations. The gritty Mexican would get up again but was stopped for good by a well timed right hand from Nietes.
In the co-main event, Milan "El Metodico" Melindo's (31-1, 12 KOs) boxing skills were too much to handle for Martin "Diablo" Tecuapetla (11-6-2, 8 KOs).
Tecuapetla did what was expected of him, and that is to attack from the get go. The Mexican started quick with jabs and right hands. Melindo for his part, boxed and launched educated punches, wobbling Tecuapetla with his first uppercut-left hook combination.
Tecuapetla was still aggressive in rounds two and three but was handily getting countered with left hooks and uppercuts by the 26-year-old Melindo.
Tecuapetla's aggression finally paid off in round 4 and 5 as he landed left hooks to the head and body punches. Melindo was calm as he boxed, moved and countered as soon as there was an opening.
Melindo tamed the Mexican with his counterpunching in round 6 but it was Tecapuetla who finished the round strong with hard combinations to the head and body.
Melindo was still outboxing Tecuapetla in round 7. Tecapuetla appeared to be hurt for the first time in the fight after a series of combinations.
Melindo was warned by referee Robert Doyle for a low blow in rounds 8 and 9. The aggressive Tecuapetla took the fight on the inside, landing some body shots along the way.
Tecuapetla had his best round in 10 but was warned by the referee for a low blow. Tecuapetla landed multiple shots both to the head and body of Melindo, finishing the round strong with hard combinations.
Melindo outlanded and outboxed Tecuapetla in rounds 11 and 12. Tecuapetla who was in a terrific shape never stopped attacking until the final bell.
Melindo won by majority decision and kept his WBO international flyweight title. The scorecards were 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112.
JM Siasat is a boxing journalist based in Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com