NOT OVER FOR MILAN
Despite loss to Taguchi, ALA Promotions chief says Melindo can still be a world champ
Milan “El Metodico” Melindo’s reign as International Boxing Federation (IBF) world light flyweight champion may have lasted for just eight months, but his team believes the boxer from Cagayan de Oro can still be a world champion someday.
Melindo lost to the taller World Boxing Association world light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi in a bloody 12-round unification bout via unanimous decision on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo, Japan.
All three judges favored the Japanese Taguchi with scores of 117-111, 117-111 and 116-111.
With the win, Taguchi kept his WBA title and took away Melindo’s IBF crown in the process.
Although it was a short-lived reign for the 29-year-old boxer, ALA Promotions International CEO Michael P. Aldeguer believes it’s not over for Melindo.
“He can become a world champion again,” Aldeguer told Cebu Daily News. “Unification bouts are always special and at the end of the bout, both fighters have become more respected. Milan’s stock has surely gone up after that bout with Taguchi and for sure he can become a world champion again.”
Aldeguer also gave credit to the 31-year-old Taguchi, who improved to 27-2-2 (win-loss-draw).
“Milan’s loss could be his gain as both fighters showed why they are world champions and that is why unification bouts are always exciting. The night belonged to Taguchi. He was the better man that night but on another given night Milan could win too.”
Melindo clinched the IBF world light flyweight strap in May 2017 in Tokyo, Japan, scoring a first-round technical knockout (TKO) victory against Akira Yaegashi.
In his first title defense in September, Melindo went through the wringer before escaping with a split-decision win against Hekkie Budler of South Africa.
Melindo’s trainer, Edito Villamor, also believes that the fight against Taguchi alone has made Milan’s name known in the boxing world.
“Milan has a name already so it’s not that difficult for him to recover and earn another world title shot. I believe that his fight against Taguchi earned him a lot of opportunities for 2018,” Villamor said.
Melindo now has a record of 37 wins (13 by knockouts) and three defeats.
Melindo, himself, believes the loss to Taguchi is not the end of his career.
He noted that he also faltered twice before he became a world champion last year.
“Losing that fight was a big lesson for me. I’m not going to stop believing that God will make me a world champion again. It’s not a matter of how tough will it be for me to become a champion. It’s just a matter of when [it will happen],” Melindo said.
The Philippines now has two remaining world champions in boxing. These are IBF world flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas.
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