Filipino boxers

Nietes, Pagara return to ring April 3 in Dubai

Roy Luarca
Nietes, Pagara return to ring April 3 in Dubai

COMEBACK. Donnie Nietes looks to whip himself back in top shape.

File photo

Inactive for two years, four-division world champion Donnie Nietes wants to prove doubters wrong

Whether Donnie “Ahas” Nietes still packs venom will be known when he returns to the ring on April 3 at Round 10 Boxing Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The four-division world champion has been inactive for two years, and at 38 years old, may no longer be at his prime.

Nietes wants to prove doubters wrong and has been working out with brothers Edmund and Edito Villamor since October to get back into shape.

Now that the fight date is set, his training gradually gears up but there will be no specifics until the opponent is named by D4G Promotions and MTK Global, Nietes’ new management team after the ALA Promotions fold-up.

On December 31, 2018, Nietes bested Kazuto Ioka by split decision in Macau to clinch the vacant World Boxing Organization super flyweight crown.

He gave up the belt to give compatriot Aston Palicte the chance to go after it, but in the process lost his bargaining power to be pitted against fellow 115-pound champions.

Nietes has learned his lesson and hopes to reclaim the throne. But first, he has to shake off the rust and get his rhythm back.

Most likely, he’ll be pitted against a non-contender first to determine where he stands physically and mentally.

The same situation applies to Albert Pagara, who’ll be appearing in the same card to be broadcast live in the United States via ESPN+.

Pagara settled for a unanimous decision over veteran Virgil Puton last December 18, halting his knockout run at 5 while raising his record to 33-1, 23 knockouts.

Once touted as Philippine boxing’s brightest hope, Pagara’s career got derailed when he suffered an eighth-round knockout loss to Mexican Cesar Juarez in 2016 in San Mateo, California.

Also signed up by MTK Global, Pagara will be pitted against a yet to be named super bantamweight opponent.

Like Nietes, Pagara needs to impress if he wishes to get a title crack. –

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