Donnie Nietes, Aston Palicte clash for vacant WBO title

The two Negrenses battle for the junior bantamweight crown in just the third all-Filipino world title fight

Roy Luarca

Published: 7:48 AM September 8, 2018

Updated: 7:48 AM September 8, 2018

MOTIVATED. Donnie Nietes (left) looks to extend his 33-fight unbeaten streak while Aston Palicte hopes to join the roster of Filipino world champions. Photos by Jhay Oh Otamis (Nietes) and Ryan Songalia (Palicte)

MANILA, Philippines – It's going to be Donnie Nietes’ tactical skills and experience against Aston Palicte’s youth, length and power.

Whoever will be able to exploit his advantage over the other is likely to emerge as the winner when they tangle for the vacant World Boxing Organization junior bantamweight crown on Saturday, September 8 (Sunday, September 9 in Manila) at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

The other intervening factors are Palicte’s hunger for recognition and Nietes' desire for acclamation as an elite fighter in the mold of eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and four-division titlist Nonito Donaire Jr.

The 36-year-old Nietes is seeking his fourth title after reigns in the 105, 108 and 112 pound divisions, while Palicte, 27, wants to join the roster of Filipino world champions. (READ: Filipino superfly Donnie Nietes risks 14-year unbeaten streak)

Both are Negrenses, with the 5-foot-3 Nietes born in Murcia town and the 5-foot-7 Palicte in Bago City.

On fight night, however, both Nietes, torch bearer of ALA Promotions, and Palicte, mainstay of the Roy Jones Jr. Stable, will momentarily shelve off their affinity to give the fans something to remember other than the fact that it’s only the third world title fight between Filipinos. The first came in 1925 when Pancho Villa beat Clever Sencio in Manila, and the second when Jerwin Ancajas thwarted the challenge of Jonas Sultan in Fresno, California, last May.

After holding training camps in the Philippines, both fighters wrapped up their training at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood and are deemed in optimum shape for one of the three featured fights in HBO’s Superfly 3.

They both made weight Friday with Nietes coming in at 114.8  pounds and Palicte checking in at 114.6.

Nietes, under the guidance of brothers Edito and Edmund Villamor, and Palicte, under the watch of former World Boxing Council light flyweight champion Rodel Mayol and Stanley Godinez.

The opposing camps predict victory.

Edito Villamor said Nietes, who totes a 41-win, 1-loss, 4-draw record with 23 knockouts is going to use his experience and ring smarts to overcome the stronger, longer (3 inches) Palicte (24-2, 20 KOs).

According to Mayol, Palicte will overpower Nietes, who’ll be testing his mettle in the 115-pound division for the first time.

Aware of Palicte’s size and power, Nietes, who holds the record uninterrupted reign for a Filipino world champion, built up his body and muscles under the supervision of conditioning coach Nick Curson and sparred with bigger fighters like Jeo Santisima and Virgil Vitor, both 122-pounders.

Recently included in the elite pound-for-pound list, Nietes said he feels younger, stronger and more motivated as he tries to extend a 33-fight unbeaten streak. –