Donnie Nietes, one of the most accomplished boxers in Filipino history, has vacated his junior flyweight world title and is moving up to the flyweight division, ALA Promotions announced.
Nietes, who has won world titles at strawweight and junior flyweight, will make his flyweight debut on Sept. 24 (beIN Sports Espanol) in the main event of a card ALA Promotions is putting on at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Nietes will square off with former junior flyweight titleholder Edgar Sosa, 36, of Mexico.
Nietes (38-1-4, 22 KOs), 34, defended his strawweight belt four times before moving up to junior flyweight, where he made nine successful defenses from 2011 to 2016. He is coming off a fifth-round knockout of Mexico's Raul Garcia, a former strawweight titleholder, on May 28 in the Philippines.
After the fight, Nietes hoped to challenge unified flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada next and asked ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldeguer to try to make the fight. However, Mexico's Estrada (33-2, 24 KOs), who has been out of action since September because of a serious hand injury, has a mandatory defense to make upon his return, meaning a fight with Nietes wouldn't happen until next year.
"I was ready to leave the light flyweight division before [fighting] Garcia," Nietes said. "I was thinking he would be my last opponent at 108 pounds. I want to fight bigger names. I am very lucky to have a manager and promoter who believe in what I can do and they have always supported me. But I believe I'm done with the 108 division. There's no one else for me. I want to go after the other world champions out there. One world champion at a time, but I want to fight more if I can."
The fight against Sosa will be Nietes' second in the United States. He retained his title by unanimous decision against Juan Alejo in October, also at the StubHub Center.
Sosa (52-9, 30 KOs) challenged for the flyweight world title in May 2015 but got knocked out by pound-for-pound king Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez in the second round. Sosa bounced back for a six-round decision win against sub-.500 opponent Orlando Garcia Guerrero in February.
"He's Mexican. That means he is a tough fighter," Nietes said of Sosa. "He's a former world champion and he's fought some of the best in his division. I will be sure not to let my guard down and pour all what we've trained for, because I know this won't be an easy first [flyweight] fight for me.
"I just want the people to know there's a lot left in me. I feel great with my new weight. As a boxer, I still want to do and accomplish so much."