FOUR-division world champion Donnie Nietes is back on track as he starts training for his much-anticipated ring return. Nietes kicked off his training camp last Oct. 6 with his longtime trainer Edmund Villamor at the Gladiator Gym in Talamban.
“He looks okay because his speed and quickness are still there. But we still have a lot of work to do because he came off a long layoff,” Villamor told SunStar Cebu.
The 38-year-old Nietes last fought on Dec. 31, 2019 in Macau. He captured his fourth division world crown with a split decision won over Kazuto Ioka for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight title.
Villamor feels that they need a little bit more time to bring Nietes back to his championship form and that they’ll most likely return in 2021.
“I think we’ll be ready by next year so that we’ll have a longer preparation,” said Villamor.
Villamor and Nietes have had a long and fruitful partnership as trainer and boxer in their days at the ALA Gym. The duo won four division world titles together—the WBO minimumweight, the WBO light flyweight, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the WBO super flyweight belts.
“I’m really happy that Donnie still chose me as his trainer. Our target is to become a world champion again,” said Villamor.
Nietes, who also holds the record as the longest reigning Filipino world champion, recently signed with MTK Global and D4G Promotions after ALA Promotions ceased its operations.
Though he hasn’t been in the ring for close to two years, Nietes still wants the biggest names of the division. But his ultimate dream fight is against Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
“Donnie really wants ‘Chocolatito’; that’s his dream fight,” said Villamor.
Gonzalez is scheduled to defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) super flyweight title against Israel Gonzalez on Oct. 23 in Mexico City. Another fighter on his hit list, Juan Francisco Estrada, is also fighting on the same card as he defends his World Boxing Council (WBC) super flyweight strap against Carlos Cuadras.
Nietes should get a quality fight from MTK Global and D4G Promotions because of their connections to other big promoters. MTK Global has close ties with Bob Arum’s Top Rank.
Though he’s nearing the tail end of his illustrious boxing career, Nietes is still considered as one of the elite names of the super flyweight division. He has beaten the cream of the crop in the lower weight divisions and has an impressive record of 42-1-5 with 23 knockouts.