Donnie Nietes hopes to bring the glory back to the Philippines when he takes on reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior bantamweight champion Kazuto Ioka Wednesday night, July 13, at the Ota-City Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
Nietes gets a chance to prove his worth once more less than a week since Mark Magsayo lost his World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight belt to Rey Vargas.
Nietes tipped in the scales at 114.5 lbs while Ioka, who needed five minutes to trim down a bit, weighed in at 114.9 lbs in his second try.
The title bout marks a much-awaited rematch between the two since slugging it out on New Year’s Eve of 2018 where the Filipino boxer won the vacant WBO junior-bantamweight title.
Nietes, who is now signed with Probellum, however, let go of the belt just months later as Ioka eventually won the strap after defeating Aston Palicte of the Philippines last June 2019.
Since then, the 33-year-old Ioka had four successful title defenses with the most recent against compatriot Ryoji Fukunaga also on New Year’s Eve of 2021.
Nietes is among the Filipino boxing greats who have joined Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire in becoming a four-division world boxing champions.
The Negros Occidental native pugilist, however, carries the weight of a Filipino nation hungry for redemption following the recent defeats of Donaire and Magsayo.
Nietes holds a 43-1-6 win-loss-draw record built on 23 knockouts while Ioka owns 28 wins and two losses with 15 KOs.