Donnie Nietes showed he still belongs at world title level despite falling short in his bid to reclaim the WBO belt.
Nietes challenged champion Kazuto Ioka in Tokyo, Japan today but after 12 rounds at the Ota-City General Gymnasium, he lost on points.
The three ringside judges all scored the bout in favour of the impressive Ioka, by margins of 120-108, 118-110 and 117-111, and in turn inflicted only the second defeat of Nietes’ career – and his first since 2004.
Nietes, 40, showed moments of the quality which has seen him win world titles at four different weight categories, but Ioka’s had a superior output in most of the rounds, and defended his WBO crown.
Filipino hero Nietes mounted a strong finish and would trouble Ioka through the contest with his counter back-hand and uppercuts, but the hometown fighter was a clear winner in the end.
Nietes, who headed into the fight declaring he aims to box until aged 45, emerged from the fight with credit, despite Ioka’s dominance in long spells.
You can also follow our official news, results, and information account, Probellum News, on Twitter.