MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion Donnie Nietes is fighting a clone when he makes the first defense of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight crown on June 2 at Resorts World.
“He fights very much like me,” Nietes said after a light lunch Thursday in Quezon City with a handful of scribes.
Nietes said he has watched the 12th-ranked Felipe Salguero of Mexico on video against three different foes and he sees a lot of similarities with the Mexican challenger.
Even chief trainer Edito Villamor agrees with Nietes’ sharp observations.
“Salguero has a lot of skills and fights very much like Donnie. He is a counter-puncher and it’s going to be a battle of skills,” said Villamor, a two-time world title challenger in the 1990s.
Nietes had won the WBO 108-lb diadem in October last year in front of his hometown fans in Bacolod in October last year.
But Nietes, who won three battles in Mexico in the past, was not as impressive on home soil, citing that “the pressure was too much.”
“I felt a lot better and fought much better when I fought on enemy territory,” said Nietes, who has a 29-1-3 card with 16 knockouts.
Told that it’ll be almost the same next week, Nietes said he will fare better this time.
“Manila will be different,” said Nietes, confident of putting on a show of force.
Nietes is hoping to hurdle one major stumbling block in his quest to earn a shot against a fighter he is aching to face the feared Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez.
“He (Gonzalez) is undefeated and that’s why I like to face him,” added Nietes.
Salguero is no pushover since he holds a sterling 16-2-1 win-loss-draw card with 11 knockouts.
Nietes said he has trained long and hard and would not hesitate to put Salguero to sleep once the opportunity comes.
Armed with a 29-1-3 card, Nietes became a two-division world champion last October when he eked out a decision over Raul Hirales of Mexico.
Out to take the spotlight are two fights featuring world-rated light-fly Milan Milendo, who meets ex-world titleholder Jesus Gellez of Colombia, and Genesis Servania, who slugs it out with Genaro Garcia of Mexico in a super-bantamweight tenner.
The Servania-Garcia scuffle is something not to miss because this is the same Garcia who had originally been eyed to square off with Rey ‘‘Boom Boom’’ Bautista early this year.
But it was not this Garcia who showed up and faced Bautista but a paltry who also had the same name.