A bloodied Milan Melindo lost his International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight belt to Japanese World Boxing Association (WBA) light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi on New Year’s Eve unification bout via unanimous decision at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
Melindo started the bout aggressive as he won the first two rounds but could not sustain the charge in the later rounds as the three judges gave the Japanese fighter the nods, 117-111, and 116-112.
“We lost to a better fighter last night. It was a great fight. Thank you for all your support,” posted by Melindo’s trainer Edito Villamor in his Twitter account.
The 29-Year-old Melindo suffered a cut on his left eyebrow in the third round that gave the 31-year-old Taguchi the opportunity to get inside the Filipino fighter. That was the old cut on Melindo’s left eye, which he sustained last September in his split decision win over South African Hekkie Budler.
Taguchi, who now improved to 27-2-2 win-loss-draw record with 12 knockouts, controlled the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds after Melindo was hit with another head butt on the right eyebrow..
The Filipino tried to get back on the ninth but the Japanese protected his turf and defended his WBA belt for the seventh time.
Melindo, who dropped to 37-3 win-loss record with 13 knockouts, won the IBF belt last May via first round technical knockout win over Japanese Akira Yaegashi and also won his first title defense over Budler in Cebu via split decision last September.
With the loss of Melindo, the Filipinos only have two world boxing champions to start year 2018. They are IBF flyweight champion Donnie Nietes and IBF super flyweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas.