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Spoiling Milan Melindo’s 2017

By: Edri Aznar, SunStar Cebu


Right where it hurts. WBA champion Ryoichi Taguchi, right, of Japan sends a left to IBF champion Milan Melindo of the Philippines in the second round of their world light flyweight boxing unification title match in Tokyo, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. Taguchi beat Melindo by a unanimous decision to win both titles. (AP Foto)



MILAN Melindo’s stint as a world champion ended just before the turn of the year, along with his dream of unifying the light flyweight division.

Melindo, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion coming into the fight, dropped a unanimous decision to World Boxing Association (WBA) light flyweight king Ryoichi Taguchi last Sunday night at the Ota City Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

Judges Ignacio Robles and Francis Jackson had similar scores of 117-111, while Gustavo Jarquin saw it closer at 116-112.

Melindo started strong but Taguchi took over the 12-round bout down the stretch.

Taguchi was busier with his punches, while Melindo faded in the later rounds. All three judges gave the first and fifth rounds to Melindo, while judge Jarquin also saw the 29-year-old Filipino tactician win the sixth round in his card.

Despite the loss, ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer believes that the fight brought Melindo’s stock up because of his gallant performance.

“It was a great fight and everyone in the arena was entertained. 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. The night belonged to Taguchi, a well deserved win. He was the better man that night but on another given night Milan could win, too,” Aldeguer said.

There will be others

Melindo suffered just his third career loss in 40 pro fights. He dropped to 37-3 with 13 knockouts. His two other loses were also in world title fights: a unanimous decision defeat to Juan Francisco Estrada and a technical decision loss to Javier Mendoza.

The 31-year-old Taguchi is now the WBA and IBF light flyweight champion and improved to 27-2-2 with 12 knockouts.

“I am sure there will be more offers for Milan. We will have to talk to him when he gets back,” said Aldeguer.


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