Faced with adversity, Nietes needed to adapt to win third world title

Santino Honasan on Apr 30, 2017 03:12 AM
Faced with adversity, Nietes needed to adapt in title win
Donnie Nietes' title fight against Komgrich Nantapech was far from an easy out.

Leading up to his IBF flyweight title fight against Thailand's Komgrich Nantapech, Donnie Nietes made it clear that he wanted to display his newly-developed power against his Thai counterpart.

In the opening moments of their title bout at Pinoy Pride 40: Domination, it looked as if Nietes was going to do just that. 

As soon as the opening bell sounded, Nietes, looking like he was pretty pissed off at something, lit Nantapech up, seemingly landing all of his first barrage of punches. After a couple of rounds, even Nietes felt that it was a matter of time before he'd put the Thai contender away. 

"First four rounds, sabi ko baka sa five o six, siguro pwede ko na siya mapatumba (After the first four rounds, I told myself that I'd probably be able to put him down in the fifth or sixth round)," Nietes said after the match. "Pero hindi ko siya napatumba sa sixth tska seventh, matibay talaga (But I wasn't able to do that, even after the sixth and seventh rounds, he was really tough.)" 

By the fifth and sixth rounds, Nantapech, like a slow-starting diesel engine, appeared to have found his groove, and began scoring on Nietes. 

The 27-year old Nantapech started hitting and hitting hard, and what's more, he would take the best shots that Nietes had, smile, and push forward. 

It was at this point that Nietes knew that he wasn't going to get this guy down, so he had to make adjustments to his gameplan. 

"Pagkatapos nung six rounds, sabi ko mukhang hindi ko 'to mapapabagsak, kaya sabi ni coach laruin mo na lang, points points na lang. (After six rounds, I said that it looked like I won't be able to knock this guy out, so coach told me to just score points.)" 

Nietes did just that, darting in to land combinations and then darting out just in time to be out of Nantapech's reach. While Nantapech still managed to land some good shots, it was Nietes who was doing more work and landing more often. 

The longest reigning Filipino boxing world champion outworked and outmaneuvered Nantapech for the remainder of the match, doing enough to earn the judges' nod. 

With 44 bouts to his name, including a number of title bouts and title defenses, Nietes is as experienced as they come, and against a younger Nantapech, the older lion fought smart and did what he needed to walk away as the new IBF champion.

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