Milan Melindo: “Nothing is impossible” (Q&A)
This is what the new IBF interim world Jr. light flyweight champion, Milan Melindo wishes to impart to aspiring boxers and champions alike.
Barely 2 months after his impressive win over then IBF no.3 light flyweight Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. at the Cebu Coliseum, Melindo has already set his sights on his next goal. In an interview, Melindo shares he now looks forward to becoming a regular world champion. Even without a final date for a fight against regular IBF World Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi, Melindo hasn’t stopped training since coming back to the gym a week after his Nov. 26 championship fight.
“I didn’t even feel like going on a vacation for the holidays. I know I still have to train harder, I want to train harder”, Melindo added.
Q: Do you feel like you need to train harder because Yaegashi’s a better fighter?
Milan Melindo: Yes and No. Yaegashi is a good fighter. He doesn’t have the world title if he isn’t. But that is not why I am more relentless in my training after my latest fight. I realized what helped me win is the strong motivation from my past two attempts at world titles. Because of the experience, I felt a stronger will to finally win and make something out of my dreams. I want to train harder because I want more. I don’t want to go back to just dreaming of being in this level. There’s more out there, and that’s what I want now.
Q: How different is Milan Melindo now?
MM: There’s not much difference in me as a person. I am the same Milan before I won the title. I want people to know that. What I am is thankful. I am very happy to have finally won a world title for all of us. I am happy I was given the chance fight again despite my failures the past years. More importantly, I am happy with how I turned my doubters to believers. It gives me more confidence to aim higher not just for myself, but also for my gym and country. This is for all of us.
Q: Why do you think you succeeded this time?
MM: I prayed to win. I have to admit, the last fights I had, I don’t pray to win. I pray for guidance instead. I pray for our safety. I was always dependent on our training and my skills as a fighter. But this time, I prayed since I got the date and confirmation of the fight. I prayed all the time. I asked for this. I also worked so hard to win. I realized it does take everything from you to get what you really want to happen.
Q: What’s next for Milan Melindo?
MM: I want to be a regular world champion first. After that, I hope to challenge the other world champions in my division. It’s strange because before I got this title, I was only focused on actually winning it. Now that I have it in my hands, I want to achieve more. I want to get my country on top of the rankings again. It’s the reason I’ve been spending more time training instead of resting after my fight. There’s this want in me that’s keeping me on the move.
Milan added he wants to get his story out, how he failed not once, but twice, before he won his first title. He believes he can inspire other Filipino athletes. “I know not everyone gets the opportunity to big fights, that is why I am very thankful to my manager, my promoter, all the people behind ALA Gym and ALA Promotions, my coaches, stable mates that I’ve sparred with, my family, and of course our TV partner ABS-CBN Sports. Without everyone, the media, and fans who’ve always supported us fighters, I wouldn’t be able to get to where I am now. This is the motivation everyone needs and I hope, everyone finds. I hope the young fighters out there who have yet to conquer their own dreams know my story and continue to do what they believe in. I know I’ve yet to achieve mine too, but I hope they don’t give up when they fail and do their best every time they go in the ring. I hope they continue reaching for their dreams because nothing is impossible. I am a living proof of that.”