IBF light flyweight champion Milan Melindo (right) of the ALA Gym and his WBA counterpart Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan pose during the official weigh-in on the eve of their unification bout at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. Ala Promotions Photo

Melindo faces biggest fight yet
(The Freeman) - December 31, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — ALA Gym standout Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo faces yet the toughest fight in his career as he slugs it out with Ryoichi Taguchi in a unification bout for two of the four major titles in the light flyweight division today at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

Melindo is the reigning IBF 108-pound champion, while Taguchi holds court in the WBA. The two protagonists both scaled in at 107.5 points during yesterday's official weigh-in.

Aside from being a unified champ,the winner of the showdown of champions will also snatch the vacant Ring magazine lineal light flyweight belt.

The 29-year-old Melindo, who holds a 37-2 record spiked with 13KOs, claimed the interim IBF title after beating Thai Teeraphong Utaida in November last year.

The pride of Cagayan de Oro City became the regular titleholder after scoring a smashing first-round stoppage of erstwhile champion Akira Yaegashi last May.

Four months later, Melindo successfully defended his throne for the first time after overcoming a bloody and brutal match against South African Hekkie Budler.

It would be an uphill battle through for Melindo against the 31-year-old Taguchi, who is undefeated five world championship bouts and also the heavy favorite fighting in his hometown.

Sporting a 26-2-2 record packed with 12KOs, the Japanese brawler snared the WBA crown with a unanimous decision victory over Alberto Rossel of Peru exactly three years ago today and has not lost a fight since then. —EBV (FREEMAN)

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