Nietes stops Mexican foe in 9th, keeps WBO title

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In a mesmerizing display of power and skills, Filipino champion Donnie Nietes put a stranglehold on the World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight crown by battering mandatory Mexican challenger Moises Fuentes into submission in the ninth round late Saturday, May 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.


Facing each other for the second time following the controversial ending to their initial fight over a year ago in Cebu, Nietes left no doubt this time as he sent Fuentes down three times before American referee Robert Byrd finally decided he had seen enough in the dying seconds.

The official time: 2:56.

“I want to show to everyone that I have power (in my fists) and I think I proved that tonight,” said an ecstatic Nietes, who had engaged the tall and rangy Fuentes to a draw the first time with most fight aficionados believing that Fuentes should have been declared winner.

Taking the wave of criticisms as some sort of a motivation, Nietes labored silently in the gym for the past few months and pushed himself to the limit, knowing that his legacy will be at stake in the rematch.

“A lot of people were questioning me about my stamina and my power. I think everything have all been answered,” said the 31-year-old Nietes, who boosted his record to 33-1-4 with 19 KOs.

Nietes spent most of the time defending from Fuentes constant body attack and omnipresent right to the head, deflecting and evading majority of them and throwing and connecting to pile up points before he finally sent the crowd in a frenzy in the ninth frame.

An overhand right to Fuentes’ head sent the 28-year-old challenger down and he followed it up with a right and a left that incurred a one-point deduction from the third man on the ring.

“I was too eager to finish him off,” said Nietes, sounding extremely apologetic for the unsportsmanlike gesture.

Moments later another right decked Fuentes as the audience started to sense blood but Byrd allowed the fight to continue.

Big mistake on the part of Byrd, who probably thought there was still a lot of fight left in the Mexican’s tank.

When one more Nietes right to Fuentes’ head floored him, Byrd didn’t even bother to count as he wisely called a mercy halt to the carnage.

Fuentes, who dropped to 19-2-1 with 10 KOs, looked forlorn with welts under his eyes and bruises all over his face, a testament to the heavy pounding he received from the hammering hands of Nietes.

Michael Aldeguer, whose ALA Boxing manages Nietes, said the win opened up a lot of opportunities for the champion to make more money and further become even more popular. Manila Bulletin

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