BACOLOD CITY—World minimum weight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes struck like a slithering snake, knocking out Mexican Antonio Vasquez in the first round of his light flyweight debut at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum here Saturday night.
Power-punchers Jason Pagara and Lorenzo Villanueva also stopped their respective foreign opponents to clinch the WBO Youth Asia Pacific junior welterweight and WBO Asia Pacific featherweight titles, respectively.
The 19-year-old Pagara knocked out Tanzania’s Deo Njiku with a well-timed counter left hook in the second round while Villanueva finished off Indonesian James Mokoginta with two solid body punches, two minutes and 14 seconds gone in the fifth round.
Villanueva retained his crown for the third time in the well-attended fight card dubbed Filipinos in Pinoy Pride 5: Battle of Champions presented by ALA Promotions, ABS-CBN and the Bacolod City government.
Nietes, the World Boxing Organization l05-lb titlist for more than three years and six months now, cornered Vasquez, who’s three inches shorter at 5 feet flat, then unloaded a right hook that nearly sent the Mexican tumbling over.
Vasquez tried to get up using the ropes but couldn’t beat the count of referee Bruce McTavish with 2:26 gone in the round.
The 28-year-old Nietes, who owns the distinction of defending his crown three times against Mexicans in Mexico, raised his record to 28 wins, 16 by knockouts, one loss and three draws while Vasquez skidded to 16-6.
Next up for Nietes is the winner of the April 30 showdown for the WBO light flyweight interim championship between Ramon Garcia Hirales and Jesus Gonzales.
Villanueva, stalwart of the Bravehart Boxing Club of former North Cotabato Gov. Manny Piñol, improved to 20 wins, 19 by knockouts, against one no contest. Mokoginta slipped to 15-5-1.
Piñol said he intends to give Villanueva two more quality fights before seeking a showdown against unbeaten Juan Maria Lopez.
The rangy Pagara also knocked down the Tanzanian twice in the first two rounds. He improved to 26 wins, 15 by knockouts, against one loss.
Present during the bout, which drew close to 10,000 spectators, were businessman/sportsman Dodong Bascon, Himamaylan mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon, Murcia mayor Andrew Montelibano, former congressman Monico Puentevella, fight promoter Wakee Salud, and ALA promotions’ Tony Aldeguer.