Nietes loses to Ioka in rematch

·2 min read

FOUR-DIVISION world champion Donnie Nietes fell short in his bid to become world champion again after losing a one-sided unanimous decision to World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka in their rematch on July 13 at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

Ioka asserted his dominance and controlled the fight from start to finish. The 40-year-old Nietes had his moments but he showed signs of slowing down as his punch output was a bit low and his reflexes were a bit off.

Nietes, who was cut above his left eye late in the fight, put on a gallant stand, never gave up and fought until the final bell.

All three judges saw the 33-year-old Ioka winning with lopsided scores of 120-108, 118-110 and 117-111.

“We really lost,” Nietes’ coach Edmund Villamor told SunStar Cebu. “Ioka was still the same fighter (in 2018). The thing that was different this time was that Ioka outboxed Donnie.”

Nietes suffered his first loss in 18 years and dropped to 43-2-6 with 23 knockouts, while Ioka improved to 29-2 with 15 knockouts.

Ioka avenged his defeat to Nietes in 2018 in Macau. Nietes beat Ioka by split decision in their first meeting to win the vacant WBO super flyweight belt.

“Donnie’s reaction (to Ioka) was off,” said Villamor. “I haven’t talked to Donnie if he still wants to continue. If I were to decide, he can already retire, for his safety. But everything is still up to him.”

If Nietes decides to call it a career, he’ll be a sure-fire hall-of-famer. He’s a world champion at minimumweight, light flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight. He’s considered as one of the best boxers in the lower weight divisions, all-time. He’s also the longest-reigning Filipino world champion after holding a world championship belt from 2007 to 2018.

Meanwhile, the three other Pinoy warriors in the undercard also lost their respective bouts.

One-time world title challenger Froilan Saludar (32-6-1, 22 KOs) lost a close split decision to former World Boxing Council flyweight king Daigo Higa (18-2-1, 17 KOs).

Saludar dropped Higa with a solid right hook in the fourth round. Higa survived but still did enough to walk out of the ring with the victory. Two judges had scores of 76-75 and 76-74 in favor of Higa, while one judge scored 77-75 for Saludar.

On the other hand, Presco Carcosia (10-2-1, 9 KOs) bowed down to Musashi Mori (12-1, 7 KOs) by unanimous decision, while veteran Jhon Gemino (23-14-1, 13 KOs) also lost by unanimous decision to former amateur star Hayato Tsutsumi (1-0).

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