Junior bantamweight contender Aston Palicte. Photo by Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/360 Promotions
Last September Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte clashed in a largely forgettable all Filipino world title fight. At the conclusion of twelve rounds the bout was declared a draw and the WBO junior bantamweight belt remained vacant.
Looking back Palicte, who is rated No. 8 by The Ring in the talent-laden 115-pound division, feels the result was fair.
“I must have fought him good but not good enough to beat him,” Palicte told The Ring. “It was a great experience to fight a three-division world champion (at that time), knowing I almost won.”
Subsequently, Nietes was matched with fellow three weight champion Kazuto Ioka for the still vacant title on December 31. Nietes won the crown by a hard fought split decision.
“Nietes really scored better than Ioka,” Palicte opined. “I totally agree with the result.”
That left Palicte outside looking in. The recently turned 28-year-old will look to earn a second title shot when he faces unbeaten Puerto Rican Jose Martinez in a WBO junior bantamweight eliminator at Viejas Casino and Resort, Alpine, California on Thursday.
Palicte (24-2-1, 20 Knockouts) isn’t overly familiar with his opponent though knows victory is imperative if he is to force a rematch with Nietes.
“I’m just happy and excited to fight Martinez,” he said. “I haven’t really watched many of his fights. I can only say he must be a good fighter, too, since he got the fourth spot in WBO ratings.
“If I win this fight with Martinez, I guess we’ll have no choice but to do the rematch since I’ll be his mandatory challenger. I’m very much willing to show the world again who is the better man.”
Martinez (20-0-2, 13 KOs) has been a professional since 2011. The 26-year-old from Las Marias in the west of the Caribbean Island has earned his stripes winning WBO regional titles and is coming off a draw with Alejandro Santiago Barrios last March.
To prepare for his upcoming fight Palicte based himself at the famous Wild Card Gym in Hollywood where he worked in the considerable shadow of his legendary countryman Manny Pacquiao.
While Pacquiao honed his skills ahead of his ultimately successful win over Adrien Broner, Palicte used that as fuel to his fire.
“It’s always good, exciting and inspiring to train with PacMan” he explained. “He’s a boxing icon, who pushes himself real hard even in bad weather conditions. He is also a good person inside and outside the ring. One can always get inspiration from him, one way or another, not just in boxing.”
Former four-weight world champion and future Hall of Famer Roy Jones’ promotional company with co-promote the event with another former boxing great Miguel Cotto.
“It’s a great match up to me of two really good fighters,” said Roy Jones Jr. “But if Aston wants to win, then he has to be much busier than he was last time out.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.
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