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Milan Melindo vows to fight on: ‘I can be world champion again’

By: Ryan Songalia,


END OF REIGN. Milan Melindo says it just wasn’t his night when he lost to Ryoichi Taguchi, but isn’t making excuses. Photo by Toru Yamanaka/AFP



MANILA, Philippines – Milan Melindo arrived back in Cebu from Japan on Wednesday evening, January 3, about an hour after originally he was originally scheduled. It had been a tough last few days for the Cagayan de Oro City native, who lost his IBF junior flyweight title in a bloody unification battle with Ryoichi Taguchi on New Year’s Eve by unanimous decision.

He wasn’t enthusiastic about revisiting the battle, which saw him sustain new cuts which could not be immediately stitched due to the concurrent swelling. Still, he maintains it was only his will that kept him going in the final 3 rounds when Taguchi turned the momentum and closed the stronger of the two.

In the [last] 3 rounds, I felt not good [physically], I feel no power in my punch. Only my mental always looking forward to win the fight but my body, I don’t think so,” said Melindo (37-3, 13 knockouts), who was quick to add “it’s not an excuse for me. I accept the defeat.”

Michael Aldeguer, Melindo’s promoter and president of ALA Promotions, adds that it was “not Milan’s best fight” and that “he did not have the hand speed that could have made the difference,” but feels there could be an upside to all of this despite the loss.

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,” said Aldeguer. “The night belonged to Taguchi, well deserved win, he was the better man that night but on another given night Milan could have won it too.”

Melindo’s 7-month title reign, though brief, leaves nothing to be ashamed about. The 29-year-old led an audacious campaign after knocking out Akira Yaegashi in one round to win the belt in May of 2017, making good in his third shot at a world championship. He followed that up in September with a much tougher outing against ex-champ Hekkie Budler, overcoming severe cuts to knock the challenger down and keep his title by split-decision.

He rested just one week after that bloodbath before training to face the long-reigning WBA titleholder of the 108-pound division.

Melindo wants to take some time off to relax and recover, then he wants to start his career back up again in search of a second championship reign.

“Only one thing I can promise is I can be a world champion again. I am sure of it,” said Melindo.

“I’m more hungry because I didn’t reach my goal to capture all the belts.”

While Taguchi now controls the WBA and IBF titles, Ken Shiro, another Japanese fighter, holds the WBC title while Puerto Rico’s Angel Acosta holds the WBO belt that Kosei Tanaka recently vacated. Asked which of those fighters he’d campaign to face, Melindo made it clear he wanted revenge.

“I want the rematch so that I can prove that I can win the fight,” said Melindo.

What would he do differently in a rematch?

“I will do secret.”




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