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MELINDO: “I'M READY FOR YAEGASHI”

By Dong Secuya
PhilBoxing.com
13 May 2017



CEBU – IBF Interim world light flyweight champion Milan Melindo of the Philippines has declared his readiness to face regular IBF world light flyweight titleholder Akira Yaegashi of Japan as his team is set to depart for Japan on Monday, May 15, ahead of their world title clash at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo on May 21.

“I'm ready and very confident that I will beat Yaegashi,” Melindo told the Cebu media during the send-off luncheon held at St. Mark's Hotel here Saturday.

Melindo who has been preparing for this fight right after he defeated Teeraphong Utaida of Thailand last November, said his team has focused on his stamina for this fight.

“Yaegashi is a brawler,” Melindo said. “So we had prepared myself that he could not overpower me. I have to use lateral movement and quickness to parry his onslaught and be in front of him at all times – and that requires a lot of stamina.,” Melindo said who also revealed he had been training with conditioning coach Pio Solon for this purpose.

To test Melindo's stamina, his trainers composed of brothers Edito and Edmund Villamor and Michael Domingo, had him spar for 22 rounds straight against seven different sparring partners with each one coming at him fresh every three rounds.

But in the end, Melindo said it will still be his highly evolved technical skill that will carry the day. “My technique will beat him,” Melindo said.

Melindo who is five years younger than his 34-year-old opponent, doesn't expect that age will play a big factor in his fight with Yaegashi. “Age doesn't matter a lot in boxing. If you're disciplined and takes care of your body, you can fight at a high level even if you're old,” Melindo said you cites boxing greats George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins as examples.


IBF Interim world light flyweight champion Milan Melindo (C) poses with his trainers Edito Villamor (L) and Edmund Villamor (R) during the press luncheon Saturday at St Mark's Hotel in Cebu City.

NO WEIGHT PROBLEM.

Melindo who ate a plateful of fruits and fish during the luncheon, said he had no weight problem at all and expects to be two to four pounds over the weight limit when his team composed of trainers Edito Villamor, Edmund Villamor and Michael Domingo, will depart on Monday, one week ahead of the scheduled fight.

Melindo (35-2-0, 12KOs) will be fighting for a world title for the 4th time. He previously lost to Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico for Estrada's WBO and WBA world flyweight titles and to Javier Mendoza, also of Mexico, for Mendoza's IBF world light flyweight title. He finally won the IBF Interim world light flyweight title over Teeraphong Utaida last November.

Yaegashi (25-5-0, 13KOs) like many of his compatriots, first fought for a world title early in his career. In his seventh professional outing on June 4, 2007, he challenged Japan-based Thai Eagle Den Junlaphan's WBC world minimumweight title but lost by decision. He won his first world title by wresting the WBA minimumweight belt from Pornsawan Porpramook of Thailand on Oct. 24, 2011 but lost it to fellow Japanese Kazuto Ioka in their WBA-WBC unification fight on June 20, 2012. He later moved up in weight and won the WBC world light flyweight title over compatriot Toshiyuki Igarashi on April 8, 2013 and defended it successfully three times before he was dethroned by Nicaragua's Roman Gonzalez on Sep. 5, 2014. Yaegashi again moved up in weight and fought for the vacant WBC world flyweight title in his very next fight on Dec. 30, 2014 but lost to Mexican Pedro Guevarra by 7th round knockout. Yaegashi returned to light flyweight where he captured the IBF world light flyweight title over Javier Mendoza of Mexico on Dec. 29, 2015 in Tokyo and had defended it two times against Jose Martin Tecuapetla of Mexico in May, 2016 and Wittawas Basapean of Thailand last December, 30, 2016. All in all, Yaegashi had 12 world championship fights winning 9 and losing 3 of those fights.

Yaegashi and Melindo had one common opponent in Jose Martin Tecuapetla of Mexico. Yaegashi defeated Tecuapetla by split decision on May 8, 2016 in Tokyo while Melindo won over Tecuapetla by majority decision on May 10, 2014 in Pasay City.

The Yaegashi-Melindo bout will be the 7th world title fight involving a Filipino this year. The Pinoys won only two of this year's six previous world title fights with Jerwin Ancajas beating Jose Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico in Macau on Jan. 29 to successfully defend his IBF world super flyweight title and Donnie Nietes capturing his third division world title by defeating Komgrich Nantapech of Thailand for the IBF world flyweight last April 29 in Cebu. On the losing side were: Melvin Jerusalem who lost to Chayaphon Moonsri of Thailand for Moonsri's WBC minimumweight title on Jan. 25; Joey Canoy lost to Hekkie Budler of South Africa for Budler's IBO light flyweight title on Feb. 4; Jason Canoy lost to Mzuvukile Magwaca of South Africa for the vacant WBF bantamweight title on Mar. 31; and Marlos Tapales having been stripped of his WBO world bantamweight title after failing to make weight in his first title defense against Shohei Omori of Japan on April 23.

The current Filipino world title holders are Manny Pacquiao (WBO welterweight), Jerwin Ancajas (IBF super flyweight), Donnie Nietes (IBF flyweight) and Melindo for his IBF Interim world light flyweight belt.


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