Filipino boxers

Nietes tackles Carrillo for WBO title in Dubai

Roy Luarca

TOP SHAPE. Donnie Nietes has whipped himself back to peak form and is favored against Pablo Carrillo.

Photo by Alvin S. Go/Rappler

More than two years since his last fight, Donnie Nietes will be hard-pressed to show the skills that made him a four-division world champion

Whether Donnie Nietes is still sneaky, sleeky, and deadly will be known when he tangles with Colombian Pablo Carrillo for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) international super flyweight crown at Caesars Palace Bluewaters in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday, April 3.

Already 38 years old and 27 months removed from his last bout, Nietes will be hard-pressed to show the skills that made him a four-division world champion.

Nietes believes he will be highly competitive for two more years and he is using Carrillo to gauge if he can still challenge the 115-pound big guns like Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and Kazuto Ioka, who he beat by split decision in December 2018 to clinch the WBO crown, which he eventually relinquished.

Having trained since last November under longtime trainer Edmund Villamor, Nietes (42-1-5, 23 knockouts) has whipped himself back to peak form and is favored over the 32-year-old Carrillo (25-7-1, 16 KOs).

Nietes weighed in at 114.8 pounds on Friday, while Carrillo checked in at 114.6 pounds.

Despite his edge in experience and quality of opponents, Nietes isn’t underestimating Carrillo.

“Pablo is a good guy and he knows how to fight, but this will be an exciting performance from me,” Nietes said during the official press conference on Thursday. “The pandemic and COVID-19 doesn’t hinder my dreams to continue in boxing. I have been given this opportunity and I want to win it and then fight the world champions in the super flyweight division.”

With the exception of fellow Filipino Jerwin Ancajas, the International Boxing Federation super flyweight king, of course.

The Nietes-Carrillo bout serves as the chief support to James Herring’s defense of the WBO super featherweight belt against Carl Frampton.

Nietes-Carrillo will be aired over The Filipino Channel. – Rappler.com