NAKATANI STOPS MELINDO IN JAPAN
By Dong Secuya
Sun, 06 Oct 2019
Nakatani and Melindo in action.
Former world champion Milan Melindo of the Philippines was stopped by undefeated Japanese Junto Nakatani in the 6th round of their 10-round scheduled super flyweight bout at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo Friday night. Melindo, 31, suffered his third successive defeat that may signal the sunset of his illustrious career.
Returning to the ring almost a full year after losing to Ken Shiro and fighting as a flyweight for the first time, the 5'2" Melindo could not find any headway against the 21-year-old 5'7" lefty Nakatani who controlled the fight all night with his right jab. Melindo's patented counters were ineffective as he could not close the distance with his shorter reach and as he opted not to try his luck by going inside, the match had become a one sided exercise in favor of the Japanese who was trying to time his opponent with lethal combinations.
By the fourth round, Nakatani's left had regularly found a home at Melindo's face and the onslaught, with combinations connecting to the head and body of Melindo, continued in the next two rounds until Referee Yuji Fukuchi waved off the fight at 2:02 of the sixth round to save Melindo from further damage.
Melindo (37-5-0, 13KOs) captured the IBF Interim light flyweight title against Fahlan Sakkreerin, Jr. in November, 2016 in Cebu and captured the full title by defeating long time Japanese champion Akira Yaegashi in Japan on May 21, 2017. He defended the title successfully against Hekkie Budler of South Africa in Cebu on Sep. 16, 2017 before losing it to Ryoichi Taguchi in a IBF/WBA light flyweight unification bout on Dec. 31, 2017 in Tokyo.
Melindo fought for the WBC light flyweight title against defending champion Ken Shiro of Japan in Yokohama on Oct. 7, 2018 where he lost by TKO in the 7th round.
Nakatani (20-0-0, 15KOs), highly ranked in the flyweight division by the four major boxing bodies but is now fighting as a super flyweight, the win against Melindo will most likely land him high in rankings in his new division.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Dong Secuya.
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