Donnie Nietes will enhance his already significant boxing legacy if he reclaims the WBO junior bantamweight title in Japan.
The Filipino hero is a former four-weight world champion and takes on Kazuto Ioka in Tokyo, on July 13, looking to win back the belt he vacated almost four years ago.
Nietes has reigned as a world champion at minimumweight, light flyweight, flyweight, and super flyweight in a near-20- year professional career.
Here’s how Nietes became a world title holder in four different divisions.
Nietes had been a professional fighter for over four years, and recovered from a loss and two draws, to finally land his first world title shot.
It came against the unbeaten Thai boxer Seeta, in Cebu City, Philippines, and Nietes prevailed with a unanimous points win after 12 rounds.
Nietes did floor his opponent in the fourth round with a right hand, but Seeta recovered and the fight would go the distance.
The man known as Ahas, would defend the WBO belt four times.
Garcia had won the world title with a fourth round KO win in the April of 2011 but Nietes proved too skilful for the Mexican southpaw and ripped the belt from him.
Nietes became a two-weight world champion with another unanimous decision win after 12 rounds, taking the fight with scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 115-113, in front of a raucous Bacolod City crowd, in his homeland.
The Filipino hero would reign as champion until 2016, a run which included a staggering nine defences of his crown.
After making his move up to flyweight with a win over Edgar Sosa in America, Nietes returned home, to Cebu City, to challenge for the vacant IBF crown at 112lbs.
And a world title at a third weight was secured with a unanimous decision points win over Thailand’s tough Nantapech.
Victory saw Nietes join Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire as Filipino fighters to have won world belts at three different weights, and he said: “I think this is the best accomplishment in my life because my name is written in Philippine boxing history next to Pacquiao and Donaire.”
Nietes, 34 at the time, would defend the title with a seventh round KO of Juan Carlos Reveco in California.
Nietes’ legacy in boxing was already secure with the win over Nantapech but his New Year’s Eve triumph over Ioka, took his reputation to new heights.
The pair meet for a second time on July 13, with Ioka heading in as the champion, but in Macao in 2018, the belt was vacant.
And in a battle for the former three-weight world champions, Nietes edged a split decision win, 116-112 and 118-110 in his favour, to take a fourth world title.
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