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)