Nietes honored for feat as 4-division boxing champion
Filipino boxing champion Donnie Nietes was given a hero’s welcome by Bacolodnons for his rare feat of winning world titles in four divisions.
“I never imagined I would achieve four-division titles because I was so small as a young boy,” Nietes said in the local dialect during his homecoming press conference at Northwest Inn here Tuesday.
The Negrense boxer, who was born in Murcia town and spent some of his growing years in neighboring Bacolod City, was honored by the city government to acknowledge his achievement that brought pride, not only to Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, but also to the Philippines.
After the press conference, Nietes went around the city’s major streets for a motorcade, which ended at the Bacolod City Government Center.
Nietes, 36, is only the third Filipino to become a four-division world champion after Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire.
Last December 31, he defeated Kazuto Ioka of Japan for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight title in Macau to win his fourth world title.
“I thank God for helping me deliver a good performance to win in my fourth division. I’m really happy that I made a name and a record for myself,” Nietes said, adding that his success is a result of his dedication and hard work during his training with the Cebu-based ALA Gym, which jumpstarted his professional career in 2003.
During the press conference, Nietes was joined by city officials headed by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, and Rep. Greg Gasataya, as well as Bacolod Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) president Juan Ramon Guanzon. Members of his family, led by his father Josue, were also present.
The forerunner of Guanzon’s group, the Negros Amateur Boxing Association, had served as a training ground for aspiring Negrense boxers like Nietes.
“We join the BABA to honor and congratulate Donnie. This is really something we can all be proud of,” Leonardia said.
Guanzon thanked the city government for organizing the events to honor Nietes, who has remained humble and respectful despite his success.
“This is really a result of Donnie’s hard work,” he added.
Aside from his WBO minimumweight, light flyweight and superflyweight titles and his International Boxing Federation flyweight belt, Nietes is also the longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion, surpassing in 2014 the record set by Gabriel “Flash” Elorde in 1967. (PNA)
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