After more than two years, Donnie Nietes is back and he is a champion again.
The former four-division champion Nietes scored an impressive unanimous decision win against Pablo Carillo of Colombia to take the World Boxing Organization (WBO) International junior bantamweight title Sunday at the Caesars Palace Bluewaters in Dubai.
The 38-year-old Nietes, who last fought in December 2018, proved he still packs a punch as he landed counters and uppercuts while moving away from Carillo in the 12-round bout.
The three judges scored the bout 96-95, 98-92, 99-91 all in favor of Nietes, who improved his ring record to 43 wins with one defeat and five draws, while Carillo dropped to 25-8-1.
With the win, Nietes and his camp are looking at various options.
He could face reigning WBC and WBA super flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico, Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez, or Thai legendary boxer Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
The last time Nietes stepped into the ring was December 31, 2018 in Macau.
The native of Bacolod City came through with a split decision win against Japan Kazuto Ioka for the WBO junior bantamweight title. He was supposed to fight fellow Filipino Aston Palicte, but the fight did not materialize.