Nietes retains WBO junior-flyweight title with win over Velarde
CEBU, Philippines -- Filipino fighter Donnie Nietes retained the WBO junior-flyweight title for a fifth time after beating Mexican challenger Carlos Velarde by technical knockout in the eighth round on Saturday.
Nietes slowly built a lead with a hometown crowd cheering him on at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu city. The fight changed after an accidental head-butt at the end of the seventh round opened a cut above Velarde's left eyebrow. His corner couldn't repair it, and conceded the fight.
The younger Velarde, Nietes said, shifted his style by fighting closer, which surprised him.
"I had a hard time," Nietes said. "But I countered that with body punches and, luckily, he refused to continue the fight."
Nietes, who won the belt in 2011, improved to 34-1 with 20 knockouts. Velarde slumped to 26-4 with 14 KOs.
The victory brought Nietes closer to eclipsing a record held by Boxing Hall of Fame member Gabriel "Flash" Elorde, the Filipino who holds the record for longest reign in the junior lightweight divisions, seven years and three months in the 1960s. Nietes hasn't lost a fight since clinching his first WBO title at 105 pounds (47 1/2 kilograms) in 2007, and would surpass Elorde's record in January.