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Milan Melindo looks to unify IBF, IBO titles at Pinoy Pride 42

A rare title fight between two world champions is set to take place in the country’s Boxing Mecca this September

Fresh from his championship victory last May, IBF World Light Flyweight champion Milan Melindo (36-2, 13KO) will hit the ground running to start his title reign.

Melindo is set to headline the upcoming Pinoy Pride 42 card as the newly-minted champion will make his first title defense on Saturday, September 16.

The 31-year-old native of Cagayan de Oro, who thwarted Akira Yaegashi to win the IBF belt last May in Japan, will take on IBO counterpart Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10KO) to unify the belts.

ALA Boxing Promotions president and CEO Michael Aldeguer expressed his excitement as the tilt will pit two of the division’s finest tacticians in a rare Champion versus Champion affair at the Queen City of the South.

“This will be one of the biggest fights we’re bringing in Cebu,” the promoter said. “It’s going to be an exciting fight for the fans as both fighters are world champions and have similar records.

“This is a fight that everyone should watch.”

For his part, Melindo has expressed confidence to put up another victory in front of the Cebuano crowd.

“I have a lot of confidence because God is with me,” the number three light flyweight in the world said.

“We’re gonna fight in my territory, where I will run the show and I promise an impressive win.”

The reigning IBO champion Budler is fighting outside of his native country for the first time. But he believes that he has what it takes to stun Melindo.

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“This is great news. Melindo is a very good fighter, probably the best opponent I will have faced. Going on the road doesn’t faze me. I’ll fight anywhere,” the 29-year-old South African said. “I’m sure the Filipinos will watch my fight; they’re all over YouTube.

“But I’ll change up a few things and do what I’m best at.”

The Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City is eyed to be the venue of the event.

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