Melindo, Taguchi clash in unification bout


International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion Milan Melindo faces World Boxing Association (WBA) light flyweight titleholder Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan in a unification bout today, New Year’s Eve, at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

Trainer Edito Villamor said that the 29-Year-old Melindo, who registered 107.3 pounds during the official weigh-in, is in his best condition to engage the Japanese champion who tipped the scale at 107.5.

Milan “El Metodico” Melindo AFP PHOTO

“Milan is ready to unify the titles. We just have to stick to our game plan but it still depends on the style of Taguchi,” Villamor told The Manila Times in an overseas call on Saturday. “Based on what I’ve heard, he (Taguchi) will use his height as an advantage.”

“He intends to run around Milan but we are ready to counter that. We just finished a light training, which is more of a pep talk a day before the fight.”

According to Japan news reports, Taguchi, 31, aims to punish Melindo with body shots.

Villamor said he is not bothered that Taguchi is taller by four inches than the 5-foot-2 Melindo (37-2 record with 13 knockouts).

“We are 100 percent ready for this fight,” he said.

Taguchi (26-2-2 win-loss-draw record with 12 knockouts) is coming off a technical knockout win over Roberto Barrera of Colombia last July 23 also in Tokyo, Japan.

The bout is going to be Melindo’s second in the country after dethroning Japanese world champion Akira Yaegashi last May 21 via first round knockout.

He successfully defended his title via split decision over South African Hekkie Budler last September in Cebu.


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