Donnie Nietes: “I Came Back For A Chance To Fight The Great Fighters”

Donnie Nietes Happy to Be Back in the Ring with Visions of Fighting the Division’s Elite

Donnie Nietes speaks into a microphone at a presser
Donnie Nietes

Donnie Nietes Happy to Be Back in the Ring with Visions of Fighting the Division’s Elite


Boxing this Easter weekend includes a significant fight card on April 3 in Dubai on ESPN+. In the headliner, Jamel Herring makes the third defense of the WBO World Junior Lightweight title against former 122 and 126-pound world champion Carl Frampton. But the most intriguing fighter on that card could be Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 22 KOs). Having been inactive since December 31, 2018, the four-division world champion makes his return to the ring.

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW

For those uninformed about Nietes, he is one of the best Filipino boxers to ever lace on a pair of gloves. He is one of the best lower-weight fighters in the sport for the last decade-plus. The 38-year-old from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, The Philippines won his first world title back in 2007. He has captured world titles at minimumweight, junior flyweight, flyweight, and junior bantamweight divisions.

His last appearance in the ring saw him defeat Kazuto Ioka to claim the vacant WBO 115-pound world title on New Year’s Eve of 2018. It was the biggest and most impressive win of his career. Nietes seemed to be on the verge of cracking the big-time and on the doorstep of the big money fights he had long desired. Then, suddenly, he disappeared from the scene.

February of 2019, Nietes vacated the WBO Junior Bantamweight title after being ordered to fight mandatory contender Aston Palicte. Then his promoter, ALA Boxing, decided to close shop in August of 2020. It was looking more and more like the Filipino warrior had chosen to call it a day.

THE PARTY’S NOT OVER

However, as it turns out, that was far from the case. First, Nietes signed a multi-fight deal with boxing powerhouse MTK Global in October of 2010. Then an announcement came he was fighting on the Herring-Frampton undercard.

The former champion will face Colombian Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-round junior bantamweight contest. On paper, Carrillo looks like the perfect comeback opponent. Based on his resume and film observation, the Colombian has neither the boxing ability nor the physical talent to compete.

Ultimately, this is about Nietes. He is happy to be back in the ring. He explained to the local media in Dubai that the reason for his return to the ring was the right time, and he got the right deal with MKT. A win could be a springboard to put himself in a position to fight the big names at 115. That is the goal.

“I really wanted a chance to fight the great fighters in my division. Chocolatito (Roman Gonzalez), (Juan Francisco) Estrada, and Sor Rungvisai. I received a great offer, and that’s why I came back.”

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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Michael is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a writer/contributor for 3kingsboxing.com.