Nietes strips naked to make weight for flyweight title fight
CEBU CITY, Philippines - Weigh-ins for Donnie Nietes fights tend to be little more than photo opportunities, as his metronomic consistency through his 14-year career has kept him at or under the weight limits before his fights. So when it was initially announced that Nietes had weighed slightly over the flyweight limit of 112.4 pounds on Friday, April 28, there was a sense of disbelief.
Some at Robinson’s Galleria hypothesized the reason to be a recent switch to digital scales from the old doctor’s office beam scales. It wasn’t the boxer, but the boxer underwear which was too heavy, Nietes said afterwards with a smile. And after parting with his boxers and stepping nude in front of a raised towel, he weighed in evenly at 112 pounds, the same as his opponent Komgrich Nantapech, whom he’ll face Saturday night at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City for the vacant IBF flyweight title.
Promoter Michael Aldeguer said it was the first time he’d seen Nietes even slightly over, but wasn’t worried because of how insignificant the discrepancy was. He’s just looking forward to fight night.
"It could be one of the biggest things we’ve done in Waterfront,” said Aldeguer, president of ALA Promotions. “At Waterfront the biggest one we did was [Vic] Darchinyan vs Z Gorres [in 2008]. I was more concerned because we couldn’t open the arena more.”
Nietes (39-1-4, 22 knockouts) will be trying to win his third world title, while Nantapech (22-3, 15 KOs) is hoping to replicate the upset win of his Thai countryman Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who handed Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez his first ever defeat.
Nietes said he got the feeling Nantapech wasn’t up to the task when he stared him down after stepping off the scale.
“I feel Komgrich, he’s afraid to face-to-face,” said Nietes, the two-time champion from Murcia, Negros Occidental, Philippines.
Nietes refueled with some spaghetti, arroz caldo and lugaw after the weigh-in, and has to remain under 122 pounds for the same-day weigh-in tomorrow. Trainer Edito Villamor says rice and tinola makes for a good pre-fight meal but cuts off eating 4 hours before the first bell. (READ: Donnie Nietes: The legacy that could’ve been)
Featherweight prospect Mark Magsayo (15-0, 11 KOs) of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines looked like he was etched from stone as he tipped the scales at 126.2 for his 10-round non-title fight against Tanzania’s Issa Nampapeche (24-7-4, 11 KOs), who was lighter at 124.6 pounds. Nampapeche gave the crowd more than they expected as he remove his pants, as he was momentarily exposed, courtesy of the opening in front of his shorts.
Junior bantamweight Jeo Santisima (12-2, 11 knockouts) was 122.8 pounds while Indonesia’s Master Suro (11-8-1, 2 KOs) was 122 pounds.
In attendance for the IBF flyweight title weigh-in was Dodie Boy Penalosa Sr, who was the first ever IBF junior flyweight champion when he won the vacant title in 1983 with a 12-round knockout of Satoshi Shingaki in Japan. – Rappler.com
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.