BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Tuesday lauded the longest reigning Filipino champion Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes – who is also the current International Boxing Federation light flyweight titlist, and the recently-crowned Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation flyweight champion Jay-r Raquinel during the courtesy visit at the Bacolod City Government Center.
Leonardia said that while they have already recognized Nietes in many of the city’s events but, offered for another acknowledgment when Bacolod turns 80 in June. “I hope Donnie [Nietes] will further extend his winnings and write another history as the longest reigning boxing champion in the world. Manny Pacquiao is an 8-division champion and I think nobody can take that record from him,” he said.
The 35-year-old Nietes has a record of 41 wins, a defeat and 4 draws with 23 knockouts, and has been a champion for 10 years and 6 months having defended his belts 15 times. Currently, based on the Guinness World Record, the late American Joe Louis holds the record of the longest reigning boxing world champion for almost 12 years with 66 wins and 3 losses including 52 knockouts and 25 title defenses.
Nietes, on his part, thanked Leornardia, the people of Bacolod and to all who have supported him throughout his career. “I hope that with everyone’s prayers, I can continue give pride and honor to our country,” he added.
Meanwhile, former Games and Amusement Board chairman Monju Guanzon – who is also the president of the Bacolod Amateur Boxing Association, said that while we have a champion like Nietes but, it didn’t stopped his group to look for next boxing champions. “Nietes is already Nietes. We should continue to develop potential boxing champions. Like Raquinel, who is originally from Cauayan town, also been a recipient of Bacolod’s program. It’s because, we don’t limit our program to those from Bacolod alone. It’s open to every Negrense who wants to learn the sport,” he added.
Guanzon further stressed that in the history of Philippine boxing only 3 boxers, as of this time, have made our country known across the globe – Pacquiao and the late Gabriel ‘Flash’ Elorde in the 1960’s and Francisco ‘Pancho Villa’ Guilledo in the 1920’s.
Meanwhile, when asked of possible staging of another title fight in Bacolod, Leonardia said that the city is willing to extend whatever assistance they could since they aren’t expert in hosting such promotions. It was recalled that Bacolod hosted a title eliminator and a title fight in 2011 and a title defense in 2016.
However, Guanzon said that it’s easily said than done as boxing promotions are very challenging. “Firstly, promoting boxing requires money which is hard to find in Bacolod. It’s just easy when the boxers in the fight card are already known but, if not, you really have to shell out funds from your pocket,” he said. “Boxing is more of passion than business. If you want to develop champions, you have to spend for them without expecting anything in return,” he added.*