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Fuentes: “I’m focused on destroying Nietes”

Nietes vs Fuentes

Interview conducted by Anson Wainwright,

One of the most underrated boxers in the world is Moises Fuentes. The former WBO strawweight champion won the belt from Raul Garcia in late 2011, defending it twice, first taking apart Julio Cesar Felix with body shots in their opening round and stopping legendary Ivan Calderon in Puerto Rico in five.

The Calderon win, even against a faded version, was particularly impressive and served notice that “Moi” has the capability to not only fight and beat the best but do so on the road and in his opponent’s backyard.

With nothing left to achieve in boxing’s lightest weight class, Fuentes stepped up three pounds to light flyweight, giving longtime champion Donnie Nietes all he could handle for 12 fast-paced rounds. With the ringside judges unable to agree (114-114, 114-114 and 115-113, Nietes), both fighters settled for a draw.

Moises Fuentes “I think in that fight, I didn’t have enough experience.” Fuentes would tell though he clearly believes he’s benefited from the experience. “Nietes is an old wolf but it was his hardest fight of his life. Nobody punished him like I did...Moises Fuentes.”

Since then, Fuentes, 28, has won three successful bouts, a wide, workmanlike, 10-round decision over Gerardo Verde, a stoppage of Luis De la Rosa in the opening round for the WBO interim 108-pound title and closed the year out with a seventh round TKO of grizzled veteran Omar Salado to take his ledger to 19-1-1 (10).

The WBO is calling for a rematch with Nietes, which may well come to pass in the coming months.

Anson Wainwright - You beat Luis De la Rosa for the WBO interim light flyweight title last September. What can you tell us about that fight?

Moises Fuentes - I thought the fight would be harder but thanks to my preparation, I did it good. Actually, my training was short. Luis De la Rosa is a good fighter.

AW - Earlier in 2013, you fought a draw with Donnie Nietes in the Philippines. What would you say about that fight?

MF - I think in that fight, I didn’t have enough experience. Nietes is an old wolf but it was his hardest fight of his life. Nobody punished him like I did...Moises Fuentes.

AW - That was it for fighting away from home and in the Philippines? What were you treated like?

MF - Almost all my fights have been outside of Mexico. It’s not a problem. In the ring, it’s only the opponent and I. People from the Philippines are nice but really “local” [supporting of the home fighter].

AW - In 2012, you scored an eye-opening fifth round KO of Ivan Calderon in Puerto Rico. Tell us about that fight and what it meant to you and your career to stop a well-known legend in his country.

MF - It was a dream fight. Calderon was world champion since I started my career as a professional. Beating a legend like him, it’s the best thing of my career. Many people said Calderon was old but nobody realised how my training camp was and how many sacrifices I made.

AW - Who are the key members of your team?

MF - My co-manager Jorge Barrera, a very important part of my team, my good friend, Aaron Dominguez is my trainer. My brother, Heriberto Fuentes is my second assist and friend. I feel proud that Marco Antonio Barrera manages my career.

AW – Where do you train and what is a typical day at the gym?

MF - Barrera’s Gym, Colonia Juventino Rosas. Five a.m.: running, sleep for a while; go to the boxing gym and train until 3:30 p.m.

AW - You’re from Mexico City, one of the largest cities in the world. Could tell us about your youth?

MF - Things were really difficult. I grew up with a low income family. I needed to work when I was little. I didn’t take my career really seriously but one day, I decided to start again in boxing and I went back to train. I won a tournament named the “Gold Belt.” It was my motivation to keep going and be world champion.

AW - What do you think of the light flyweight division and its reigning champions?

MF - I believe this division is getting stronger each day. Any opponent is dangerous but [WBA champion] Roman Gonzalez is the most dangerous. I know Donnie Nietes very well and is not really hard [to defeat]. I beat Nietes already and I don’t need to take care of [WBC champion] Adrian Hernandez.

AW - When you’re not training, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

MF - I spend almost all my time with my family, my wife and brothers. I don’t have kids yet but I will in the future.

AW - You won a world title at strawweight. What goals do you still have in boxing?

MF - Now I’m focused on destroying Nietes. I get the junior flyweight title. I want to be champ of the world in several different divisions.

AW - Who is your boxing hero and why?

MF - My hero in boxing and the one I really pattern this career after is Alexis Arguello. I never met him but he was a great icon in boxing.

AW – Finally, do you have a message for the light flyweight division?

MF - I’m handled by Marco Antonio Barrera and my promoter Zanfer Promotions. They have good plans for me and we are going down a good road.

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