It took Donnie Nietes a little longer than expected, but he has finally won his 115-pound world title.
In the main event of a boxing card in Macau, China, Nietes defeated three-division world champion Kazuto Ioka (118-110, 112-116, 116-112) to win the vacant WBO super flyweight title. Nietes now extends his unbeaten streak, which started all the way back in November 2004, a total of 35 bouts fought in that span.
Nietes also made history by becoming the latest man to win a world title in four weight classes as well as being the third Filipino boxer to do it, behind Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire. Nietes previously won world titles at minimumweight, light flyweight and flyweight.
Nietes won't have to wait long before finding out who his mandatory challenger will be. On January 31, 2019, Aston Palicte and Jose Martinez will fight in a title eliminator in California. That fight will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass as part of a multi-year deal between UFC and Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions to stream 72 total fight cards on the service.
The title was previously held by Naoya Inoue, but vacated the belt earlier this year to fight for a title at bantamweight. Nietes and Palicte fought for the vacant title back in September as part of an HBO telecast from California, but the fight ended in a controversial draw. It was then that the WBO ruled that it would sanction the fight between Nietes and Ioka for the vacant title while also ordering the title eliminator between Palicte and Martinez.