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Boxing

Milan Melindo retains IBF crown after bloody affair against Hekkie Budler

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International Boxing Federation World Light Flyweight champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo overcame two bad cuts and a gutsy Hekkie Budler to retain his crown in Pinoy Pride 42 at Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Cebu City.

Defending his title for the first time, Melindo showed championship form early as he asserted his will in the early goings of the fight. But Budler came alive by the fourth stanza with combinations of his own.

The South African champion then targeted Melindo’s cut above his left eye which was sustained from an accidental headbutt during the sixth and was able bring some momentum in the succeeding rounds.

Struggling with his vision as his eyes were covered with blood after sustaining yet another cut as they headed to the ninth round, Melindo fought back. He continued to fire combinations against the very game Budler before scoring a crucial knockdown in the final round. It proved to be the difference maker of the fight as both men continue to trade leather until the final bell.

When the scores are read, two of the three judges saw the fight in favor of the champion, 117-110, 115-112 and one judge scored 115-113 in Budler’s favor.

“Parang blurred po, yung mata ko nahaluan po ng dugo. So nakikita ko parang yellow, may sagabal po,” an emotional Melindo (37-2, 13 KOs) said in the post-fight interview. “Hindi po ako tumitigil sa pag dasal. Kahit na nagpapatuloy ako ng suntok, dasal po ako ng dasal na tulungan ako ng Panginoon na tulungan Niya ako manalo dahil importante po itong champion (sic).

“Sa awa po ng Diyos, na-prove ko po na isa akong kampeon at lalaban po ako kahit may dugo ako,” he added.

Jonas Sultan spoils John Riel Casimero’s plans


For the second straight time, Jonas Sultan came out on top against a former world champion, earning himself a shot to the fight of his life.

The 25-year-old Sultan scored an impressive unanimous decision win over former IBF World Flyweight champions Johnriel Casimero in the undercard of Pinoy Pride 42 at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.

Fighting for the right to face reigning IBF 115-pound king Jerwin Ancajas, “Zorro” executed his gameplan in near perfection both in offense and defense. He dictated the pace by pressing forward, giving Casimero no chance to land his usual power shots from the get go.

As Sultan starting to establish cushion in the scorecards, Casimero started to land his shots during the middle rounds. But Sultan opted to return the favor and went toe-to-toe with the two-division world champion, much to the delight of the fans.

In round seven, Casimero once again connected with a well-timed straight that stunned Sultan. However, Sultan re-established his counter-punch game by the following round.

Sensing victory, the crowd started to cheer on Sultan as he continued to frustrate Casimero in the waning rounds of the fight. Casimero tried to dirty-box in a last ditch effort to steal the fight, but Sultan wisely weaved out of harms way to end the fight.

Sultan secured the victory with a 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 in all three judges to become the next in line for the IBF belt.

“Sobrang saya ko dahil nahirapan din ako sa kanya kasi magaling din siya, malakas,” A relieved Jonas Sultan told Tiebreaker Times after his win, who has scored back-to-back wins over former world champions.

“Mage-ensayo pa ako ng mas grabe dahil alam ko na malakas din si Ancajas,” he furthered.

Jason Pagara settles for draw


In the co-main event, Jason Pagara fought Kenyan James Onyango in a draw after both men tried to rip each other apart.

“El Nino” scored an early knockdown in the second but it wasn’t enough to put away Onyango for good. “Onyi” came back in the fourth round to finish the fight, tirelessly exchanging blows with Pagara in the remaining rounds.

In the end, each of the judges saw the fight differently – one in favor of Pagara, the other of Onyango and the last saw it a draw 96-94, 94-96 and 94-94.

In other bouts, KJ Cataraja and Virgel Vitor scored a pair of knockouts in their respecive assignments while former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva stopped Richie Mepranum in the sixth round to get back to the winner’s circle.

Pinoy Pride 42 Results
September 16, 2017 – Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Cebu City


Milan Melindo def. Hekkie Budler (115-113, 117-110, 113-115)
Jason Pagara fought James Onyango to a draw (96-94, 94-96, 94-94)
Jonas Sultan def. Johnriel Casimero (117-110, 116-112, 115-113)
Arthur Villanueva def. Richie Mepranum (RTD, 4th)
KJ Cataraja def. William Ugbaniel (KO, 2nd)
Virgel Vitor def. Alvin Bais (KO, 1st)
Kenneth Gentallan def. Jeffrey Stella (UD, 59-54×2, 60-53)
Jeno Macapobre def. Mel Ando (TKO, 3rd)

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Boxing

SMART Sports’ Best of 2017: Pound for Pound

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2017 was an up-and-down year for Philippine martial arts

While world champions fell and expectations were not met in international campaigns, young warriors also rose. And this keeps the future bright for the industry.

Before we begin, martial artists that need to be acknowledged as well are former ONE Featherweight World Champion Eduard Folayang (Career: 18-6, 2017: 1-1), former IBF Light Flyweight World Champion Milan Melindo (Career: 37-3, 13KO, 2017: 2-1), SEA Games gold medalist Samuel Morrison (Taekwondo, -74kg), SEA Games gold medalist Dines Dumaan (Pencak Silat – Men’s Tanding (Match) Class A), and SEA Games gold medalist Agatha Wong (Women’s Compulsory 3rd Taijiquan).

Here is the top pound-for-pound list for the year that was.

Mixed martial arts: Kevin Belingon (Bantamweight)

Representing the famed Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is one of the country’s most talented martial artists with a professional record of 16-5.

Belingon is known as a fierce competitor with the ability to finish opponents in a variety of methods as the 29-year old Wushu practitioner owns seven huge knockouts on his resume and is considered as one of the most feared strikers in ONE Championship’s deep bantamweight division.

Since losing to reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes in January 2016, Belingon has barged through his top rivals with a slew of fearsome striking performances and showcased his incredible punching power.

It began with a thorough defeat of Tajikistan’s highly-touted Muin Gafurov in October 2016, followed by a complete first-round annihilation of Finnish submission wizard Toni “Dynamite” Tauru at ONE Kings of Destiny in Manila, Philippines.

Those two consecutive wins earned Belingon a showdown with top bantamweight contender Reece “Lightning” McLaren at ONE: Quest for Greatness in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Belingon needed just 62 seconds to end matters abruptly as hee began the bout-ending sequence by dropping McLaren with a well-placed overhand right.

As the Aussie crashed to the canvas, Belingon followed with a relentless volley of punches to finish the contest.

At ONE: Legends of the World in Manila, Philippines, Belingon scored his fourth straight victory by defeating Korean-American contender Kevin “Old Boy” Chung via unanimous decision.

Come 2018, he is looking to get another crack at gold.

Judo: Kiyomi Watanabe (-63kg)/Mariya Takahashi (-70kg)

In a lackluster 2017 Southeast Asian Games campaign, there was a sport that came into national consciousness. Women’s judo hauled two of the medals for the division.

And it’s all thanks to Filipino-Japanese judokas Kiyomi Watanabe and Mariya Takahashi.

Watanabe, who celebrated her 21st birthday last August 25 — a day before she took stage, wasted no time in dispatching Thailand’s Orapin Senatham in the finale, scoring a waza-ari after a throw early in the contest. Watanabe gained control of her opponent, pinning the latter to the mat to eventually win the match in just 37 seconds.

It was her third SEA Games gold medal, and it was also the Philippines’ 17th gold in the competition.

A day after her win, another star rose as 16-year-old Mariya Takahashi overcame great odds to give the country its 21st overall gold in the competition.

Takahashi stunned four-time SEA Games medalist Surratana Thongsri (Thailand) to win the women’s -70kg division. She secured a leg trip seconds into the contest. The young judoka then carefully transitioned to a pin to secure the win via ippon.

With this, the Philippine Judo Federation has big plans for the two as they are grooming them for the Olympics.

Poomsae: Rodolfo Reyes Jr.

To open his 2017 campaign, Rodolfo Reyes Jr., together with brothers Dustin Jacob and Enrico Raphael Mella, kept the SEA Games’ Men’s Team Poomsae crown in the country after a rousing performance in the finals.

The Southeast Asian Games reigning men’s team poomsae champions turned in 8.37 in the Taegeuk 8, but followed it up with an even more impressive 8.43 in Shipjin. That brought the final score to 8.40, 0.6 clear of hosts Malaysia.

The troika bagged the country’s 16th gold medal in the regional meet.

Reyes then flew from Malaysia to Turkmenistan for the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. He won silver in the Men’s Invidual event while copping bronze with the Mella brothers in the Men’s Team event.

Back as a student-athlete last November, he capped his spectacular UAAP career by helping send the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Jins back to the top of the collegiate taekwondo scene during the UAAP Season 80 Poomsae championships.

Brazilian Jiujitsu: Meggie Ochoa (-45kg)/Annie Ramirez (-49kg)

Jiu-jiteros Meggie Ochoa of Atos Philippines and Annie Ramirez of John Baylon Clube de Jiu Jitsu grabbed the sole two gold medals for the Philippines in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Ochoa won the first gold for the country in the 62-nation sportsfest following a convincing 5-0 victory over Vietnam’s Le Thu Trang Du in the women’s Ne-waza -45kg finals.

Ramirez followed Ochoa on the medal stands an hour later after defeating Jenna Kaila Napolis, 9-0, in the all-Filipino finale of the women’s Ne-waza -55kg category held at the Martial Arts Arena.

“I trained everyday coming in, except on Sundays. But the most important part of my preparation was fixing my mindset,” recalled Ochoa, a three-time world jiu-jitsu champion.

“I prepared the entire year for this and it paid off,” added the 26-year-old Ramirez, the reigning continental and Asian Beach Games champion.

With the gold rush in the upstart sport, the Philippines exceeded one-gold, two-bronze performance of the Philippines back in 2013.

And we have the two jiu-jieteros to thank for it.

Boxing: Jerwin Ancajas (Junior Bantamweight)

Reigning IBF Junior Bantamweight world champion Jerwin Ancajas (28-1-1, 19KO) is just one of two remaining world champions in the Philippines’ stable. With the way his 2017 went, it seems that he will be a world champion for a very long time.

The 25-year-old pugilist started the year by making his first successful defense of his crown by retiring José Alfredo Rodríguez at the Cotai Arena in Macau.

Fighting in the co-main event of the Battle of Brisbane, Ancajas was not fazed, scoring a seventh round TKO win over Teiru Kinoshita last July 2.

He capped his sensational year by taking over Ireland with a stoppage win over hometown favorite Jamie Conlan in the eighth round last November 18.

With this, the Davao del Norte-born southpaw is being dubbed as the next Manny Pacquiao. Still, he is remaining grounded as he always looks back to the time he was a struggling fighter.

“Lagi naman akong naghahanda talaga at hindi po ako nagpapabaya lalo na parang sakin po kasi, habang tumatagal na nagdedepensa, pabigat na ng pabigat ang mga laban.

“Ganun po yung ginagawa ko talaga, hindi ako nagkukumpyansa. Sa ensayo, ensayo talaga,” he furthered. “Kumbaga ito na yung daan na makilala kami, yung team namin na maipakita yung best sa laban.”

Ancajas will make his fourth title defense on February 3 against Israel Gonzalez.

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Bloodied Milan Melindo loses IBF crown in Japan

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ALA Promotions’ Milan Melindo could not end the year with a bang as “El Metodico” lost the International Boxing Federation World Junior Flyweight championship to World Boxing Association World Light Flyweight Champion Ryoichi Taguchi via unanimous decision, 117-111, 117-111, 116-112, Sunday evening at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

Melindo (37-3, 13KOs) won the IBF crown last September 16 after taking a split decision against Hekkie Budler in Cebu. His reign lasted for 224 days.

The 29-year-old Filipino started strong, dominating the first two rounds even if Taguchi held the reach advantage. However, a headbutt in the third round resulted to a gash on his left eye that slowed him down.

With Melindo bothered by the cut, the WBA champion went on to focus on the prone body of Melindo. Moreover, he used his range to keep Melindo at bay with stinging jabs.

Needing the points, Melindo found his second wind in the ninth round, landing body shots of his own.

The final three frames turned into a slugfest that was capped by a scintillating 12th round. By then, Melindo needed a finish to unify the two crowns. Taguchi though did not back down as the two went for broke to close out the fight.

Taguchi (27-2-2, 12KOs) took advantage of this in the middle rounds.

With the loss of the IBF Junior Flyweight strap, the only Filipino world champions remaining are Donnie Nietes and Jerwin Ancajas.

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Bob Arum sees Jerwin Ancajas as the ‘next Manny Pacquiao’

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What a day it has been for IBF World Junior Bantamweight Champion Jerwin Ancajas.

On a day that saw him make courtesy calls to President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Manny Pacquiao, Top Rank Promotions chief executive officer Bob Arum revealed that the 25-year-old is set to sign with his company.

The veteran promoter revealed the news to Boxing Scene’s Steve Kim Wednesday morning.

“He is going to become a Top Rank fighter,” Bob Arum told Boxing Scene. “We’re going to fight him at least three or four times a year.

“We call him the ‘next Manny Pacquiao.'”

Ancajas (28-1-1, 19KOs) defeated McJoe Arroyo for the world title back in September of 2016. Since then, he has defended his crown three times, with the most recent coming via a TKO of Jamike Conlan last November 18 in Belfast, Ireland.

Throughout his journey to the top, he was affiliated with MP Productions and he will continue to do so as the deal between Pacquiao’s camp and Arum’s will be to co-promote the native of Cavite City.

Later in the day, Ancajas, together with stablemate Mark Barriga and coach Joven Jimenez, made a courtesy call to the president.

“Nakakatuwa at na-meet namin si Presidente,” said Ancajas.

“Nakikita na rin namin siya dati sa Davao, pero iba pa rin po nung nameet namin siya na presidente na siya.”

Ancajas is set to face Israel Gonzalez (21-1) on February 3, 2018 at the Bank of America Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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Mark Magsayo retains WBO International crown in homecoming

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By: JD Sanchez

The future is bright for Bohol’s Magnifico

In his homecoming, Mark Magsayo (18-0, 13KOs) successfully defended his WBO International Featherweight title against seasoned veteran Shota Hayashi of Japan (30-7-1, 18KOs), Saturday evening at the Bohol Wisdom School Gym in Tagbiliran City.

“Inisip ko pamilya ko. Inisip ko belt ko na sana hindi mabawi kaya nilakasan ko fighting spirit ko,” Magsayo said.

The fight went the 12 full rounds, with both warriors giving their all. At the end of the 36-minute slugfest, the judges saw the bout in favor of the Filipino, 116-112, 116-112, 116-112.

Headlining Pinoy Pride 43 in his hometown in front of his family, friends, and fans, Magsayo knew and vowed that he needed to fight smart and be technical in his approach. That did not stop him from going toe-to-toe against the very same Hayashi, who was making his overseas debut.

The two traded hard punches all throughout with Magsayo landing the cleaner ones. The Tagbilaran native punished the Japaneese visitor with brutal body and head combinations, but the latter would shrug them off and drop his own deadly combos to the delight of those in attendance.

The win could easily propel him towards fighting for the WBO World Featherweight championship belt currently held by Mexico’s Oscar Valdez — or at the very least, a title eliminator.

In the undercard, Albert Pagara and Jeo Santisima came out on top, as both fighters did not waste time to dispose their respective opponents.

Pagara (29-1) overwhelmed Mohammed Kambulata (16-4) as he knocked down his opponent twice in the second round that called for the stoppage, while Santisima (15-2) needed just 36 seconds to dispose of Kichang Kim (8-5-1)

Pinoy Pride 43: The Battle in Bohol Results
November 25, 2017 – Bohol Wisdom School Gym, Tagbilaran City


Super Bantamweight bout: Virgel Vitor (12-1, 7 KOs) def. John Ray Logatiman (6-7-2) via UD
Minimumweight bout: Melvin Jerusalem (12-2, 7 KOs) def. Jestoni Racoma (6-3-1) via UD
Flyweight bout: Esneth Domingo (8-0, 4 KOs) def. Lowell Saguisa (7-27-1, 3 KOs) via UD
Flyweight bout: Rocky Fuentes (36-9-2, 20 KOs) def. Ryan Tampus (11-21, 8 KOs) via KO1
Featherweight bout: Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 7 KOs) def. Jason Tinampay (8-7-1, 7 KOs) via UD
Junior Flyweight bout: Christian Bacolod (8-0, 6 KOs) def. Ryan Makaputin (12-11-2, 4 KOs) via TKO2

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