Ryan Songalia

Nietes, Sabillo defend titles on Nov. 30 in Manila

WBO junior flyweight titleholder Donnie Nietes and WBO 105-pound titleholder Merlito Sabillo will make their next title defenses at home on Nov. 30, when they face separate opponents at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila, Philippines.

The two were originally scheduled to make defenses on Nov. 29 in Dubai before their promotional outfit, ALA Boxing, brokered a deal to keep the show in the Philippines.

An opponent hasn’t been named yet for Nietes (31-1-4, 17 knockouts), who will make only the third defense of the title he won two years ago. Nietes hasn’t fought since drawing with Mexico’s Moises Fuentes in March, after which he needed time to recover from serious cuts he sustained in the bout.

Sabillo (23-0, 12 KOs), who like Nietes is a native of Bacolod City, Philippines, will face mandatory challenger Carlos Buitrago (27-0, 16 KOs) in the co-featured bout. Sabillo, 29, won the title with an eighth-round knockout of Luis De la Rosa in Colombia this past March, before knocking out Jorle Estrada in nine rounds in his first defense in July.

Despite being the incumbent champion, Sabillo is rated at No. 8 by THE RING in the 105-pound division, one slot below No. 7 contender Buitrago.

Milan Melindo, rated No. 8 by THE RING at flyweight, will also be in action against an opponent to be named. Melindo (29-1, 12 KOs), of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, will take part in his first bout since losing a unanimous decision to unified flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada in July.

Araneta Coliseum is most famous for hosting “The Thrilla in Manila,” the third bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975. The last boxing event held there in 2009 was also a double world title card, which saw Nonito Donaire Jr. and Brian Viloria win title fights by knockout.

The fight will be aired in the Philippines by ABS-CBN.

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