Donnie Nietes claimed a belt in his fourth weight class this past NYE, edging Kazuto Ioka in razor-thin fashion to win the WBO super flyweight title. He now has 15 days to negotiate with Aston Palicte, whom he controversially drew with last September in a previous bid for the vacant title.
Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KO), whom most believe deserved the L the first time around, was last seen smashing unbeaten WBO #4 Jose Martinez last Wednesday to earn his mandatory status.
There’s no guarantee that Nietes (42-1-5, 23 KO) takes this fight; the 36-year-old has his eyes on bigger opportunities, according to his manager. Eddie Hearn has stated that he wants to put WBA champ Kal Yafai in a unification match on April 6th and Nietes is the only other champion he could feasibly face, as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is booked against Juan Francisco Estrada on that same date and Jerwin Ancajas will fight mandatory Ryuichi Funai sometime later.
The question now is whether Nietes will settle for Palicte, get an exception to unify, or vacate to facilitate a fight with Yafai or one of the other big names. Any predictions?