Probellum chief hails ‘underappreciated’ Donnie Nietes ahead of title fight
MANILA, Philippines—Probellum president Richard Schaefer describes Donnie Nietes as underrated on the eve of the Filipino star’s rematch against Japan’s Kazuto Ioka at Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo.
Schaefer believes Nietes isn’t appreciated enough despite his championship pedigree and longevity.
“Donnie is certainly going to be a Hall of Famer,” Schaefer said.
“But he’s a little bit underappreciated. If you compare Donnie’s record to other fighters in that past, in these weight classes, he holds up very well with any of them.”
Nietes’ greatness is undeniable. He holds the distinction as the longest-reigning Filipino boxing champion and is only the third Filipino to win a belt in four divisions after Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr.
It’s also been a long time since he tasted defeat—a testament to his consistency.
“Donnie has 43 wins in a long spanning career and has only one loss. And that one loss came back in 2004, 18 years ago–he hasn’t lost in 18 years,” Schaffer said of Nietes, who signed with Probellum in October of last year.
“That must be the longest unbeaten streak of any active fighter today? And it just shows you how special he is that he goes again into enemy territory to go and challenge for the world title again. It’s a fascinating story.”
Nietes, 40, is out to issue a stern warning that he remains a force in the 115-pound division with an impressive performance against Ioka.
WEIGH IN RESULTS
The two rivals officially made weight Tuesday with Nietes checking in at 114.5 pounds and Ioka at 114.8 pounds. Ioka needed to take a second attempt at the scale to make the limit.
Nietes edged Ioka by split decision in their first meeting back in December 2018 in Macau where the Murcia, Negros Occidental native took the vacant WBO belt.
Nietes vacated the title after refusing WBO’s order to fight compatriot Aston Palicte again as he opted to pursue other champions in the division.
He fought twice last year after a 28-month layoff and beat Pablo Carillo and Norbelto Jimenez on points in a pair of 10-rounders in Dubai.
Schaefer has no doubt that Nietes still has a lot more to show as he sees him in unification bouts once he hurdles Ioka anew.