Nietes stages big comeback

    ON TARGET: Donnie Nietes lands a big right on the jaw of Pablo Carillo.

    AFTER more than a two-year layoff, Donnie Nietes made  a successful return to the ring late Saturday night (early Sunday morning in Manila), carving out a unanimous decision win over Colombian Pablo Carillo to annex the World Boxing Organization international super flyweight title in Dubai.

    Exploiting his edge in height and reach, Nietes, 38, was clinical in his approach against the smaller Carillo, landing enough shots to handily win the nod of judges Ferenc Budai, Zoltan Enyedi and Giulo Piras, who scored it 99-91, 98-92 and 96-96, respectively, at the Caesar’s Palace outdoor arena.

    The victory was Niete’s 43rd, spiked by 23 knockouts, against a lone defeat, and the first triumph  for “Ahas” since he lost a controversial split decision to Japan’s Kazuto Ioka on Dec. 31, 2018 for the WBO super flyweight crown at the Cotai Arena in Macau.

    Carillo, 33, fought gamely but was clearly not in the caliber of Nietes and absorbed his eighth loss in 34 fights against one draw in the undercard of the “Legacy” program organized by D4G Promotions featuring American WBO super featherweight champ Jamel Herring and Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton.

    Herring stopped Frampton in the sixth round, prompting the challenger to announce his retirement.

    A native of Murcia, Negros Occidental, Nietes is hoping the victory would pave the way for a rematch with Ioka to enable him to avenge his lone setback in his long checkered career.

    The 115-pound weight division is crowded with potential rivals, among them defending International Boxing Federation super flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas, who is set to stake his crown on April 10 (April 11 in Manila) against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

    A former four-division world champion, Nietes kept Carillo at bay with his stinging left jab while occasionally landing combinations, dictating the tempo throughout the 10-round clash.