Newly crowned International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo expressed interest in unifying all the belts in his division and not with a possible fight with a fellow Filipino.
The 29-year old Melindo said former world champion Randy Petalcorin (26-2-1 win-loss-draw record with 19 knockouts), has to prove his mettle first against tough opponents.
“He (Petalcorin) should prove his worth first. Before I became a contender, I fought different fighters and became a worthy challenger,” Melindo (36-2 win-loss record with 13 knockouts) told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “Not fighting him means I’m a coward? No of course not.”
“I’m a world champion and I fought so hard to win this belt. I don’t like that all-Filipino fight,” added the Cagayan de Oro boxer, who knocked out Akira Yaegashi in the first round to win the belt last Sunday in Tokyo, Japan.
Melindo added what he’s aiming right now is to unify all the world championship belts in his class – World Boxing Organization (WBO), World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA).
“That’s my goal but it depends on my promoter. If I defend it against a foreigner, it’s okay with me but not against a fellow Filipino,” he said. “The three titles are presently held by Japanese boxers. I really wanted to go for a unification bout against anyone of them.”
Melindo is referring to WBO light flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka, WBA titleholder Ryoichi Taguchi and WBC champion Ken Shiro.
Melindo’s trainer Edito Villamor shared the same sentiments, saying: “We only have four Filipino world champions right now and I believe pitting two Filipinos against each other for the title is not a good idea. If we have plenty of world champions, why not?”
So far, the Philippines has WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, IBF flyweight champion Donnie Nietes, and now Melindo.