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Melindo: It will be easier this time

By: Edri Aznar, SunStar Cebu

This is it. Banking on lessons he learned from his experience in world title fights, Milan Melindo said he has found the tools that would finally get him a world title when he faces Akira Taegashi in Japan. (SunStar Foto/Edri Aznar)



EXPERIENCE is the best teacher. And after three world championship fights, Milan Melindo has gathered enough experience to convince himself that this is his time to finally be a full world champion.

“I think this will be it. I have already learned from all my mistakes in fighting world championships. I won’t be hesitant. It will be easier this time,” said Melindo, who’ll be leaving for Japan tomorrow with coaches Edito Villamor, Edmund Villamor and Michael Domingo.

The 29-year-old Melindo, the interim International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion, slugs it out with regular IBF light flyweight king Akira Yaegashi on May 21 in Tokyo, Japan. The winner becomes the lone IBF light flyweight champion.

Melindo first got a crack at a world title in 2013, challenging then World Boxing Organization (WBO) and Word Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada. He lost by a unanimous decision.

Melindo dropped down in weight and got his second attempt in 2015 against then IBF light flyweight titleholder Javier Mendoza. The fight didn’t go the distance and it ended in a technical decision in favor of Mendoza.

The third time was Melindo’s charm as he captured the interim IBF light flyweight belt with a unanimous decision over Fahlan Sakkreerin last November at the Cebu Coliseum.

Although brimming with confidence, Melindo isn’t underestimating his opponent at all.

“I’m very confident right now but I know my opponent is very good. He is a brawler who is tough and is also a volume puncher,” said Melindo.

The 34-year-old Yaegashi is a veteran of the sport who has fought some of the best fighters in boxing’s lower weight divisions, the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Eagle Kyowa, Edgar Sosa, Kazuto Ioka, Toshiyuki Igarashi and Edgar Sosa.

He is a three division world champion, winning world titles in the minimumweight, light flyweight and flyweight divisions.

With his renewed bond with conditioning coach Pio Solon, Melindo is confident that he has the tools to beat Yaegashi.

“I will frustrate him with my jab, like what I did with Sakkreerin,” said Milan. “I tried sparring for 22 rounds straight against different fighters to test my stamina and I didn’t get tired. My advantage is that I’m a very technical fighter and I also have very knowledgable trainers.”

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