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.