Boxing: Milan Melindo ready for fireworks in New Year’s Eve title bout

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 31 2017 05:28 AM | Updated as of Dec 31 2017 09:20 PM


Thankfully, there was no issue with his weight this time.

When Milan Melindo hit the scales on Saturday for his title unification bout against Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan, he registered 107.5 pounds, clearing the junior-flyweight limit of 108 pounds.

Which means all is set for the 12-rounder set to take place on New Year’s Eve Sunday at Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo.

Taguchi weighed slightly heavier than Melindo at 107.75 pounds.

Melindo will stake his International Boxing Federation belt, while Taguchi will put his World Boxing Association strap on the line. Also at stake in the bout is the lineal Ring magazine championship.

Melindo has upper hand

Boxing analyst Ed Tolentino believes Melindo has the advantage in speed and skills over Taguchi despite being the shorter fighter.

Most pundits expect the 5-foot-5 Japanese will use his advantage in reach to keep the 5-foot-2 Melindo at bay, but Tolentino said "El Metodico" has the tools to offset that handicap.

"Tingin ko mananalo (si Melindo)," he said on DZMM's "Fastbreak" on Saturday "Kasi iyong Taguchi medyo mabagal. Matangkad pero medyo mabagal at hindi makamay." 

Melindo is known for his deadly double left hook and this will come in handy against the lanky Taguchi.

"Ang target nga ni Melindo tirahin ang bodega kasi manipis (si Taguchi) . . . Hopefully makita ni Milan ang opening at magtapos ang taon niya sa Japan saying 'sayonara' kay Taguchi," Tolentino said.

Melindo won the IBF crown via a shocking first-round stoppage against Akira Yaegashi of Japan in May.

He successfully retained the crown in a brutal match against South African Hekkie Budler last September.

But during the weigh-in for his title defense against Budler, Melindo initially failed to make weight. 

He needed extra time to taper off and was able to make the 108 pound limit in the subsequent try.

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