DONNIE NIETES retained his World Boxing Organization minimumweight title by hammering out a tough unanimous decision victory over Mario Rodriguez Saturday in the Auditorio Luis Estrada Medina stadium in Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Nietes, nicknamed “Ahas” for the pet snake he carries with him to fights back home, found himself in trouble in the ninth round as the Mexican known as “Dragoncito” (Little Dragon) tried to turn things around.
According to a report by PhilBoxing, judge Alejandro Lopez of Mexico City scored the bout 118-110, Levi Martinez of New Mexico had it 119-109 while Thomas Nardone of Florida had it 116-112, all for the Filipino champ.
Gasping for air in a steamy venue that lacked ventilation, Nietes dug deep into his reserve from the ninth round onward to stall Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s corner kept the boxer cool in between rounds with an electric fan.
The Mexican also had Nietes in trouble in the 10th, opening a cut over the Filipino’s eye, but Rodriguez simply ran out of round to swing the result in his favor.
Nietes (27-1-3, 15 KOs) built an early lead by peppering Rodriguez (10-6-3, 7 KOs) through eight rounds.
Nietes, who bloodied Rodriguez’s nose in an excellent performance in the eighth round, wrote a little footnote for good measure. The Bacolod native became the first Filipino to defend his title three times in Mexico.