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MELINDO TAKES ON TAGUCHI FOR IBF/WBA UNIFICATION BOUT ON DEC 31 IN TOKYO

By Dong Secuya
PhilBoxing.com
17 Nov 2017




Budler to get first crack of the IBF title against the Melindo-Taguchi winner

CEBU CITY – IBF light flyweight world champion Milan Melindo of the Philippines will face WBA light flyweight world champion Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan in a unification bout at Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo on Dec. 31. 2017, this was announced by ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer in a press conference here Friday held at the Casino Español.

“We are very excited about this fight because this is what we've been working hard all along,” Aldeguer told the Cebu media.

“This my dream fight. I've always wanted to unify all the titles in my division,” Melindo, for his part, said.

Melindo (37-2-0, 13KOs) captured the IBF title by knocking out long time champion Akira Yaegashi of Japan on May 21 this year in Tokyo in a major upset and successfully defended it last Sep. 16 against Hekkie Budler of South Africa.

Taguchi (26-2-2, 12KOs) won the WBA title from Alberto Rossel of Peru on Dec. 31, 2014 in Tokyo and has successfully defended it six times since.

The Melindo-Taguchi fight has been agreed upon in principle by ALA Promotions and Taguchi's promoter Watanabe Promotions last October but hit a snag when the IBF unexpectedly ordered Melindo to fight Budler in a rematch based on a protest lodged by Budler's camp to the IBF.

“It was very a difficult situation for us and we painstakingly worked very hard to resolve the issue with the IBF,” Aldeguer said. “I flew to China to talk with [IBF president] Darryl Peoples. And finally it was agreed and with the understanding of Watanabe Promotions that whoever wins between Melindo and Taguchi, Budler will have the first crack at the IBF title.”

Both Melindo and Taguchi have low knockout ratios so the fight could most likely evolve into a tactical fight.

“We have prepared for that,” Melindo's trainer Edito Villamor said. “That's why as early as last month, Milan has already been training with Pio Solon, his conditioning coach.”

“I have prepared something for him,” Melindo said. “He may box and run but he cannot run forever.”


L-R: Milan Melindo, ALA CEO Michael Aldeguer and matchmaker/trainer Edito Villamor pose during Friday's presscon in Cebu.


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