MANILA, Philippines – WBO junior flyweight titleholder Donnie Nietes and WBO strawweight titleholder Merlito Sabillo will defend their titles on November 29 in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai, says promoter Michael Aldegeur of ALA Promotions.
No venue has been settled on, says Aldegeur.
Nietes (31-1-4, 17 knockouts) of Bacolod City, Philippines will face a yet unnamed opponent in the main event. The 31-year-old will be making the third defense of the title he won in 2011 with a unanimous decision over Ramon Garcia Hirales.
Nietes, who is rated no. 2 by THE RING at 108 pounds, has held a world title since 2007, winning the WBO 105 pound title and making four defenses before stepping up in weight to capture a second title, which he will defend for the third time.
Aldegeur says that, should Nietes win, he will face former 105 pound titleholder Moises Fuentes next March in a rematch of their bout this past March, which ended in a majority draw.
“That’s what’s been agreed for with [Fuentes' promoter] Zanfer Promotions,” said Aldegeur. “We’re just ironing out the details for Dubai with regards to Donnie’s opponent.”
In the co-main event, Sabillo (23-0, 12 knockouts) of Bacolod City will face mandatory challenger Carlos Buitrago (27-0, 16 KOs).
Sabillo, 29, won the title this past March in Colombia, knocking out Luis De La Rosa on his home turf. He has made one successful defense since, stopping an overmatched Jorle Estrada in seven rounds in July.
Buitrago, 21, of Managua, Nicaragua, has won three fights so far in 2013 and is a sparring/gym mate of light flyweight kingpin Roman Gonzalez.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting fight,” said Aldegeur. “I think the style of Buitrago fits the style of Sabillo. [Buitrago] wants to prove something and I think Sabillo wants to prove that his world championship was no fluke.
“I believe that whoever wins will be able to make a mark in the lower weight divisions. I think this is going to be a defining fight for Sabillo to go to the next level.”
Despite being the incumbent champion, Sabillo is rated one slot below Buitrago at 105 pounds by THE RING at no. 8, while Buitrago is the no. 7 contender.
The fight will be aired in the Philippines by ABS-CBN.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to The Ring magazine and GMA News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.