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MELINDO DEFENDS TITLE AGAINST BUDLER: ?I WANT TO FIGHT THE BEST?


PhilBoxing.com




CEBU ? In one of the more significant fights to happen in Cebu, reigning IBF world light flyweight champion Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo takes on two division world champion and reigning IBO world light flyweight champion Hekkie Budler of South Africa on September 16 at the Waterfront Hotel as Melindo makes the first defense of his title, this was announced by ALA Promotions in a press conference held at the Waterfront Hotel here Thursday attended by ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer, Melindo and matchmaker Edito Villamor. Budler's IBO belt will not be at stake.

?I've been criticized that I was fighting noodles (soft opponents),? Melindo told the Cebu media. ?That's not true. But to prove it, we get Hekkie Budler. He's not the mandatory but he is a world champion too,? Melindo said who had logged 38 fights as a pro that spanned 12 years and all in all, he had already fought eight current and future world champions.

?We had a lot of offers from all over the world,? Aldeguer said. ?But we choose Hekkie Budler, a two-division world champion, because we think this is one of the biggest fights out there. We believe this is an exciting fight, for sure a tough fight for Milan but a big fight.?

Aldeguer also revealed that the Budler camp was very excited about this fight. ?They were very involved, Budler's promoter Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves... Not an easy fight to make. But they were also very excited. In fact they will also make a press conference in South Africa announcing this fight simultaneously with us. And this fight will be beamed live in South Africa.?

Melindo also disclosed that he wants to fight the other world champions in his division. ?My aim is to unify all the belts in my division, so I will be requesting Sir Michael [Aldeguer] and Sir Antonio Aldeguer to give me those fights,? Melindo said.


IBF champ Milan Melindo poses with Budler's photo in the background during the press announcement of their world title fight at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City Thursday.

Meanwhile in South Africa, Berman said: ?Melindo?s people obviously believe in their guy, but Hekkie is an unbelievable boxer. This is more than just a major fight; it?s an opportunity to cement his legacy as a multiple belt title-holder. It?s going to be an excellent match, a real treat for the fans. I?m delighted we could do this deal.?

Colin Nathan (Hekkie Budler trainer): ?I?m so upbeat about this fight. It was heart breaking to narrowly lose the WBA belt last year; all we wanted was the opportunity to make things right. We put Hekkie?s name forward and although he?s not the mandatory, we were honoured to get the call. Hekkie is 29. Do we want to risk it all? Yes! We?re going to Melindo?s home turf, but it?s a very winnable fight. The odds are against us, but we?re going to win. Hekkie has fought in hostile territory before, but he?s mature enough, and good enough, to win. He must bring his A game and it?s my job to ensure that happens.?


L-R: Milan Melindo, ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer and trainer/matchmaker Edito Villamor.

Melindo (36-2-0, 13KOs) won the IBF lightfly title by knocking out durable Japanese champion Akira Yaegashi in the 1st round last May 21 in Tokyo. He previously won the IBF Interim lightfly belt by beating Teeraphong Utaida of Thailand on Nov. 26, 2016 in Cebu. His two losses were against former world champions Juan Francisco Estrada and Javier Mendoza, both from Mexico, when he challenged their belts.

Budler (31-2-0, 10KOs) nicknamed Hexicutioner, is not a stranger to Filipino boxing fans as he already fought five Filipinos. He won the vacant IBO world light flyweight belt against Juanito Rubillar of the Philippines by majority decision on Feb. 27, 2010. They had a rematch on June 19, 2010 which Budler also won by a split decision. He won the IBO world minimumweight title against another Filipino, Michael Landero, on Sep. 24, 2011 and defended it successfully against Filipinos Florante Condes and Renan Trongco. His last fight on Feb. 4, 2017 was against another Filipino Joey Canoy for the IBO light flyweight title. He beat Canoy by TKO after Canoy refused to come out in the 8th round. Aside from the IBO belt, Buddler also won the WBA world minimumweight title on June 21, 2014 against Vicha Phulaikaw of Thailand in a fight held in Monte Carlo.

In the RING rankings at Junior Flyweight division, Melindo is rated No. 4 while Budler is at No. 9.


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