By Hans Olson
WBO Strawweight Champion Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes (27-1-3) looks to make a triumphant return to his hometown of Bacolod City this Saturday as he moves up to Jr. Flyweight to take on the battle-tested Armando Vazquez (18-5). Nietes, who has long been one of the best fighters in the minimum weight class, now looks north to the talent-rich 108 lb division which includes names like Giovani Segura, Ivan Calderon, Omar Nino, and Rodel Mayol.
Getting his start at the Antonio Lopez Aldeguer Gym in Cebu City, Donnie turned pro in 2003 and saw immediate success going 11-0-1 before dropping a split-decision to Angky Angkoka. That was in September of 2004…and he hasn’t lost since. Boxing Insider caught up with Donnie for a brief interview as he prepares for this all important fight.
BoxingInsider.com: Hi Donnie, can you tell me a little bit about your life growing up in the Philippines?
Donnie Nietes: First of all, I would like to thank you Mr. Olson for taking time to do this interview. What I can share with you about my life growing up in the Philippines is that it was not that easy. I do not come from a rich family, but we were happy. I never was the type who complains. I take life as it is and I just value hard work. I always believed that if you work hard, something good is bound to happen.
BoxingInsider.com: How old were you when you started boxing?
Donnie Nietes: I started out as an amateur when I was 12 years old.
BoxingInsider.com: Who were some of your boxing influences?
Donnie Nietes: I was pretty much influenced by family. I have always admired and respected my Uncle Dan. I grew up watching him fight and he is pretty much my influence. That is why I am into boxing.
BoxingInsider.com: How has training camp been for this upcoming fight?
Donnie Nietes: Training camp is doing very well. I really put my heart and mind to it because I believe that hard work really pays off.
BoxingInsider.com: What do you know about Armando Vazquez and how do you plan to defeat him?
Donnie Nietes: I don’t know much about my opponent Armando Vazquez but I am very sure this guy can not be taken lightly. Mexicans are great warriors.
BoxingInsider.com: You have never fought in the United States, is that something you think you will eventually get a chance to do?
Donnie Nietes: I have not fought in the U.S. yet but I have trained at the Wildcard Gym of Coach Freddie Roach before. I was preparing for one of my fights in Mexico at that time. It is every boxer’s dream to fight in the U.S. and I hope I will get to do that soon.
BoxingInsider.com: What are your other hopes and dreams, boxing or otherwise?
Donnie Nietes: I aspire to be the best Donnie Nietes as I can be, and I hope that will take me to greater heights not just in sport, but in life as well.
BoxingInsider.com: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Donnie Nietes: I just want to thank all of the boxing fans the world over for your support, Filipino boxers or otherwise. Also, I would like to invite all the readers of boxinginsider.com to support PINOY PRIDE 5: Battle of Champions and all the boxers around the world who work day in and out. Watch my first fight at Jr. Flyweight at the La Salle Coliseum here in Bacolod City on April 9, 2011. Thank your again Mr. Olson.