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Donnie Nietes Vacates WBO Super Flyweight Title

Donnie Nietes has officially vacated his WBO super flyweight world title.

The four-division champion wrote a letter to WBO President Francisco Valcarcel stating his intent on relinquishing the world title that he won on December 31, 2018, ending his reign without a single title defense.

The news comes on the day that a purse bid between Nietes and mandatory challenger Aston Palicte was scheduled to take place in Puerto Rico. Instead of the news of who won the purse bid, the WBO revealed that its 115-pound world title is now vacant.

The letter written by Nietes, which can be seen below, stated that one of the reasons for him vacating the title was that he wants a career-defining fight that would cement his legacy. Nietes believes that at 37 years old, he does not have much time remaining in his career to get that kind of fight.

Dear Mr. Valcarcel

First of all, I would like to thank you and the WBO for giving me another chance to fight for the World Super flyweight title against Kazuto Ioka after the painful draw against Aston Palicte.

It took me a long time to think about this very difficult decision but I feel that every fight for me at this stage of my career is crucial for my future. I have long been dreaming to have a career-defining fight. There is not much time for me in this sport at 37 years old.

I would like to humbly inform you and the WBO that I have painfully decided to vacate my title which has meant the world to me. I have held the WBO title for ten years in three divisions which has been a part of my life. I have been awarded as the longest World champion in the history of the Philippines because of the WBO. I owe my successful career to the WBO.

The WBO belts and the ring will be in my heart forever and hopefully in the future I can be given a chance to become a WBO World Champion again before I retire.

Thank you very much Mr. Valcarcel and to everyone at the WBO for all what you done for my career and without the opportunities you have given me, I would not be where I am today.

With much respect,

Donnie “Ahas” Nietes

3 Division WBO World Champion

A second letter, penned by ALA Promotions President and CEO Michael Aldeguer, echoes Nietes’ sentiments about vacating his title and added that a mandatory rematch against countryman Aston Palicte “is an emotional and mental challenge” after the two fought to a draw last year. The two boxers competed for the belt previously held by Naoya Inoue last September, but since the fight ended as a draw, the title remained vacant.

Dear Paco,

After a series of discussions with Team Nietes, it is with deep regret that Donnie Nietes has decided to vacate his WBO belt as he does not have much time in his boxing career at 37 yes of age. His wish is to look for bigger fights to enhance his legacy and achieve his ultimate dream before hanging up his gloves.

A rematch with Aston Palicte is an emotional and mental challenge for his as he went through a very difficult stage after their first fight which ended in a controversial draw and fighting a fellow Filipino again who is from the same region where he was born makes it even more difficult.

In behalf of ALA Promotions and Donnie Nietes, we would like to thank you and the WBO for all the opportunities you have given Donnie Nietes, we will forever be grateful to your esteemed organization for making Donnie a Three Division World Champion with the WBO who we consider our family.

Thank you once again for supporting ALA Promotions and DOnnie Nietes all these years.

More power to the WBO.

Sincerely,

Michael Aldeguer

President/CEO

ALA Sports Promotions International, Inc.

The WBO announced several weeks later after the September bout that Nietes would fight Kazuto Ioka on December 31 in Macau, China to crown a new champion while Palicte would fight Jose Martinez in a title eliminator. Nietes defeated Ioka by split decision to win the WBO super flyweight title while Palicte stopped Martinez in two rounds on January 31 on a boxing card streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

As for what’s next for the WBO 115-pound title, the organization typically orders its two highest-ranked available contenders to fight for the title, meaning it’s likely that Palicte will be ordered to fight Ioka, ranked No. 4 by the organization. Juan Francisco Estrada, ranked No. 2, will fight for the WBC title on April 26 and third-ranked Ryuichi Funai is likely fighting for the IBF title, held by Jerwin Ancajas, but that fight has not been announced.

What’s interesting about all of this is how Nietes approaches the end of his career. While the obvious line of thought would be for Nietes to go after Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, the only other boxer of his equal in terms of resume in the lower weight classes for the past 20 years. A fight between the two would be one worthy of being called a career-defining fight even though both men are well past their prime.

Gonzalez is aiming for a potential shot at WBA champion Kal Yafai, who is currently busy with negotiations to fight mandatory challenger Norbelto Jimenez. Unfortunately, the prospects of Nietes vs. Gonzalez in the meantime are somewhat low given that Gonzalez is recovering from knee surgery and only recently started working out.

So if not Gonzalez, then who else is out there at 115 pounds? There’s also the winner of the rematch between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada for the WBC title taking place on April 26. A potential matchup between Sor Rungvisai and Nietes is also very appealing to most fans, but Nietes would almost surely be the definitive underdog.

Only time will tell what is going to be next for the four-division world champion, but one thing is certain and that is that Nietes’ career is coming to an end soon and he knows it. At 37 years old, Nietes is taking the same approach as James DeGale recently did by vacating his title in the hopes he gets the big money fight before retiring. The super flyweight division is loaded at the top with stars, but will any of them be willing and able to give Nietes the send-off that he is craving for?

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