By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Donnie “Ahas” Nietes had an unsuccessful campaign of reclaiming his World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight belt after falling to Japanese champion Kazuto Ioka via unanimous decision.
After Mark Magsayo’s first professional boxing defeat while losing his World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight belt to Rey Vargas several days ago, another Filipino challenger failed to put the Philippines back on the pedestal, leaving the country without a current world boxing champion.
The match was a hitting clinic for Ioka after out-boxing the older Nietes for 12 straight rounds. Completing his revenge after the Filipino got the better of him during their first meeting last December 2018.
Faster, stronger, and quicker with his counter-punching, the Japanese champion overwhelmed Nietes from the get-go and also used his fluid head movements to counter Nietes’ power punches.
The bleeding didn’t stop for Nietes from the fourth until the sixth round as Ioka stepped on the gas and even poured more combinations that left the Filipino defenseless while taking more jab-straight sequences from the Japanese.
Ioka’s solid and consistent jab game caused a lot of problems for Nietes and negated his chances of throwing his deadly right-hand bomb.
Nietes showed signs of life during the eighth to ninth rounds after finally landing his signature uppercut that landed straight to Ioka’s jaw but failed to sustain his momentum during the championship rounds.
The Japanese slugger and his camp were quick to adjust after seeing Nietes’ momentum in landing the big shots and chose to fight within their desired distance until the last round.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Ioka, 118-110, 120-108, and 117-111 in front of his crowd in Tokyo, Japan.