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I had train boost: Milan

By: Edri Aznar, SunStar Cebu


WITH just less than two weeks and now tapering off for the biggest fight of his career, International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion Milan Melindo is convinced that he has had a great training camp with fellow world champion Donnie Nietes as his main sparring partner.

“This is a huge boost because I get quality sparring,” Melindo told SunStar Cebu. “We sparred a lot. At least 24 rounds or more.”

Melindo is taking on World Boxing Association (WBA) light flyweight Ryoichi Taguchi on New Year’s Eve at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

It has been the 29-year-old Melindo’s ultimate dream of unifying the 108-pound division.

“This is very important for me, this is my dream,” he said.

Melindo won then interim IBF strap with a unanimous decision victory over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. at the Cebu Coliseum last year and then became the regular champion after an impressive frat round knockout of Japanese star Akira Yaegashi in May. He had a successful title defense at home with a split decision over Hekkie Butler at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

“Milan is more confident right now compared to his first fight (in Japan) against Akira,” said ALA Gym head trainer Edito Villamor of Melindo’s return to Japan.

The 31-year-old Taguchi won the WBA light flyweight belt back in 2014 with a unanimous verdict of Alberto Rossel. He successfully defended his belt six times with wins over Ekavit Songnui , Luis de la Rosa, Juan Jose Landaeta, Ryo Miyazaki and Robert Barrera, and a draw with Carlos Canizales.

“It will be a tough fight because Taguchi is a very good fighter but Milan is very well prepared,” said Villamor, who has a record of 37-2 with 13 knockouts, while Taguchi is 26-2-2 with 12 knockouts.

Melindo is one of just three current world champions. The other two are IBF flyweight king Nietes and IBF super flyweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas.



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