By Kassie Gormley
On the outskirts of Bacolod lies the municipality of Murcia. With its rolling hills and wide grasslands, this quiet town is the home of Donnie Nietes. There wasn’t much Murcianos looked forward to, but now sari-sari stores lock up and tricycle drivers stay home for the fights of their boxing champion. Over time, it had "Ahas" whose inspiring success story put their humble town on the map.
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Right out of high school, his uncle hooked him up with a job, “Tumawag yung uncle ko na naghahanap sila ng janitor doon sa gym nila. Masayang-masaya ako dahil nakapasok ako doon sa ALA Gym,” shares Donnie.
He happily mopped other athlete’s sweat off the floor for a chance to get in the ring. So mop in hand, back and forth he went across the gym—a clean start to new beginnings. From mall parking lots, town plazas, and barangay gyms, he then made it into the big leagues and found his way onto our TV screens.
Donnie now reaps the rewards of all his hard work and success, with fans asking for selfies as he walks down his town’s dirt roads. To top it all off, he passes by a life-sized statue built in Murcia to honor him as the longest reigning Filipino world boxing champion. All said, however, he is just grateful he has given his family a batter better life.
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Donnie shares having bought himself and his loved ones a house, a car, and set his folks up with a small business. “Yung bigasan ko doon sa Mansilingan Market, yun yung binigay ko sa parents ko na negosyo. Iyon yung naipundar ko sa pag-boxing," says the 4 Division World Champion who now has 42 wins and 24 knockouts to date.
As Donnie continues to fight, so does he in terms of working hard.
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Banner image courtesy of ABS-CBN