Donnie Nietes Makes His Long-Awaited Return on April 3 to face Orlando Penalba in Dubai
Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23 KOs) has been boxing’s version of “where are they now?” On December 31, 2018, he defeated Kazuto Ioka to win the vacant WBO World Junior Bantamweight championship. It was a career-best win. Unfortunately, he has been idle since. Fans of the lower-weight divisions wondered aloud whether the 38-year-old had decided to call it a day. There has not been a peep from the talented craftsman from the Philippines since the fight against Ioka. In September 2020, news broke that Nietes was on the verge of signing a management deal with MTK Global. Next on the ledger, when will fans see him again? That question has been finally answered.
On April 3, the four-division world champion returns to the ring to face Orlando Penalba (10-0, 2 KOs) in Dubai at the Caesars Palace Dubai. Nietes confirmed the news during an interview with SunStar Cebu. He is looking to get back in the ring.
“Yes, that’s my opponent. It will be 10 rounds. I think I can beat him. He’s not a slugger. He’s just a normal boxer.”
Some may wonder if ring-rust will show itself given Nietes’ age and inactivity. He says there are no concerns and that training has been on point.
“I’m ready. I don’t feel stiff. My movement is relaxed. Coach Edmund (Villamor) said that I’m moving great. I’m also doing conditioning with coach Edito (Villamor). I’m ready to fight for 10 rounds.”
Predictably, Penalba is not the highest caliber of opponent. On paper, this should be relatively easy work for Nietes. Fans will just be settled to know he is returning to the ring. Assuming there are no signs of age, he is highly skilled and among the very best at 115 pounds.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.