Melindo outboxes Thai foe, wrests OPBF silver featherweight title in Cebu comeback fight

By: Glendale G. Rosal January 12,2023 - 06:32 AM

Milan Melindo raises his hand, while wearing the OPBF silver featherweight belt after being announced the winner against Thai Chaiwat Buatkrathok in their 10-rounder duel last evening at the CCSC. | Glendale Rosal

CEBU CITY, Philippines— Former world champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo displayed his old winning form, beating Thai Chaiwat Buatkrathok via unanimous decision and winning the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) silver featherweight title in front of Cebuano boxing fans on Wednesday evening, January 11, 2023, at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

Like fine wine, the 34-year-old Melindo, the former International Boxing Federation (IBF) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) world light flyweight champion, didn’t fail to entertain Cebuano boxing fans with his sleek moves and timely counterpunches to outperform the visiting Thai champion.

After ten rounds, Melindo got the favor of the three judges. Elmo Coloma and Arnel Pasion scored 98-92, while Edwin Barrientos scored 97-93, all for Melindo.

With the victory, Melindo is on track to break into the World Boxing Council (WBC) global rankings in pursuit of becoming a world champion anew.

He also improved his record to 39 wins with 14 knockouts and five losses, while the 30-year-old Buatkrathok suffered his eighth defeat with 38 wins and 25 knockouts.

It was a fitting comeback for Melindo, a former ALA Boxing Gym stalwart, after nine months of inactivity.

It was also his first time fighting in Cebu since 2017.

“It’s my first time to fight in the 126-pound division. Daghan pa adjustment makat-unan. As you see, dili pa kaayo ko comfortable kay wala nako ma dominate akong kontra. All I used was sweet science of boxing, knockout puncher atong kontra. So, dili pa ko makaingon nga comfortable nako sa akong weight. So I need to study, continue training ug sparring ug mga dagko para ma widen akong knowledge para sa next fight nako,” said Melindo who fights under Prime Stags Stable which also promoted the fight card.

In the first round, Melindo displayed superb defense to block most of Buatkrathok’s punches while banking on solid counterpunches to pile up points.

In the ensuing rounds, Buatkrathok continued to press forward and cornered Melindo numerous times against the ropes, but the Cagayan de Oro native defended himself very well while throwing timely counterpunches.

In the fourth round, Melindo hit Buatkrathok with a stinging hook-uppercut combination that electrified the crowd.

Sensing that brawling Melindo didn’t work well,  Buatkrathok used his jabs and landed most of them in the following rounds while Melindo kept his guard up.

In the seventh round, Melindo landed another counter left hook followed by an uppercut that wobbled Buatkrathok.

Melindo tried to finish Buatkrathok, unleashing more combinations as the boxing fans chanted his name loudly.

But the Thai held on and survived the round, while Melindo continued to have an impressive outing in the eighth round.

However, Melindo slowed down in the ninth round, while Buatkrathok became more aggressive, throwing more punches throughout the round.

Both boxers showed exhaustion in the final round as both had lesser punch output, until the final 30 seconds when Melindo engaged Buatkrathok in a fierce toe-to-toe battle until the final bell rang.

“Dili basta-basta akong-agi-an sa mga sunod nako nga fights. This is a stepping stone para nako. This is a good experience to me kay knockout puncher siya, delikado, underdog ta pero nakuha nato nga modaog because also of the people,” said Melindo.


In the co-main event, Melindo’s stablemate, Kit Ceron Garces suffered his first defeat at the hands of Noli James Maquilan.

Maquilan walked away with a unanimous decision victory after all three judges scored the bout 78-74.

Garces dropped to a 5-1 (win-loss) record with four knockouts but remained the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) Australasian flyweight champion.

Meanwhile, Maquilan of Compostela Valley improved to a 5-1 (win-loss) card with three knockouts after his back-and-forth battle against Garces of Talisay City, south Cebu.

Before losing, Garces had a good start by having the better punch output in the first two rounds.

However, he was never the same throughout the fight after getting hit with Maquilan’s hook in the third round.

Maquilan continued pacing the bout, pressing forward and throwing combinations, while Garces was desperate to land a one-punch knockout.

Both boxers were gassed out in the last two rounds of their scheduled eight, but Maquilan managed to land the cleaner punches while Garces struggled to land his own.


In the undercard bouts, Alvin Camique defeated Prime Stags Gym’s Marco Pomar via a lopsided unanimous decision victory.

Meanwhile, Omega Boxing Gym’s Carlo Bacaro also grabbed a unanimous decision win against Ryan Cermona.

On the other hand, Ken Albert Billita and JohN Rey Labajo settled their bout to a draw.


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Melindo returns, headlines Sinulog fight card of Prime Stags Sports


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TAGS: boxing, CCSC, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, Milan “El Metodico” Melindo
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