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List of Articles by Dong Secuya


 

MELINDO: “IT'S GOD'S WILL THAT I WON THE TITLE” (PHOTOS)

By Dong Secuya
PhilBoxing.com
24 May 2017



CEBU CITY – Newly minted IBF world light flyweight king Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo triumphantly arrived in this boxing city Tuesday evening from Japan and upon his arrival faced the same local sports journalists in the same hotel where a week before had gave him a send-off dinner.

“It was God's will that I won the title,” Melindo , who stopped full champion Akira Yaegashi of Japan in sensational first round stoppage Sunday night in Tokyo, told the assembled mediamen.

“Before the fight, I prayed hard to God and it was by His grace that I won the fight,” Melindo went on to say. “Atop the ring it was a bit lonely there because the whole stadium was chanting the name of my opponent 'Akira, Akira', but I had faith in God that He was more powerful than anyone here.”

But when Yaegashi fell to the canvas for the third time before the end of the first round and when the referee didn't finish the count to stop the contest, the whole stadium fell in stunned silence.

“It was quite awkward there when only three or four of us were trying to celebrate and everyone else was in mourning,” Melindo's trainer Edito Villamor told Philboxing.


Team Melindo (L-R): Michael Domingo, Edito Villamor, Melindo and Edmund Villamor who faced the Cebu media Tuesday night.

The result of the fight reverberated in the boxing world and many had wondered if the usually durable Yaegashi came into the fight not fully prepared.

Villamor debunked the notion that Yaegashi was ill-prepared. “For one he [Yaegashi] looks solid during the weighin. The fact that he made the weight easily suggests that he's been training very well,” Villamor said. Yaegashi and Melindo both weighed in at 107.6 lbs, slightly below the 108 lbs light flyweight limit.

Villamor and his brother Edmund and Michael Domingo who were in Melindo's corner in Japan, were one in saying that it was Melindo's left hook to the head of Yaegashi, which accounted for the Yaegashi's first knockdown, that doomed the Japanese.

“I was hit with the same punch in the head and the world turns,” Villamor said referring to the punch that Mexican legend Finito Lopez hit him that knocked him out during their world title fight on March 16, 1996 in Las Vegas.

Although Yaegashi got up, Melindo could sense that his opponent was still groggy. “I could hit him with my jab so I thought he has not yet recovered,” Melindo said who then followed up with another vicious left hook to the body that sent Yaegashi to the canvas for the second time. As the first round came to a close Melindo delivered a crushing right to the jaw of Yaegashi who fell to the canvas for the third time.


The Melindo right hand that finishes off Yaegashi.


Melindo raises his hands as the referee waives off the contest.

“When I saw that Yaegashi's head bounced back to the canvas, I knew it was over,” Villamor said.

Yaegashi, quoted by the Japan Times, concurred with Team Melindo's assessment. “I got hit with his left hook (for the first knockdown), and looking back, it won him the fight,” Yaegashi told the Japan Times. “I wasn’t good enough to win. I have to accept it.”

Melindo's win spoiled what could be a triumphant weekend for Japan's light flyweight boxers: Kosei Tanaka successfully defended his WBO lightfly title over Angel Acosta of Puerto Rico in Nagoya Saturday and Ken Shiro wrested the WBC lightfly belt from Ganigan Lopez of Mexico in Tokyo, also Saturday. Yaegashi was expected to raise his hand in victory against Melindo on Sunday.

The WBA lightfly belt is being held by another Japanese Ryoichi Taguchi.

Melindo has said he wants to unify the light flyweight titles. If that is so, Melindo has to get a long term Japanese visa as his flight routes will most likely be heading to 36°N and 138°E for some time.


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