Milan Melindo camp raring for rematch even in Japan against unified champ Ryoichi Taguchi
Milan Melindo is open to a rematch even in Japan again to avenge his loss to champ Ryoichi Taguchi

THE camp of former world champion Milan Melindo is open to holding a rematch against unified light-flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan.

Trainer Edito ‘Ala’ Villamor said the 29-year-old stalwart of Cebu-based ALA Promotions is definitely raring to get another shot at Taguchi, who beat Melindo by unanimous decision last New Year’s eve in Tokyo, Japan to wrest the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title belt of the Filipino and add to his World Boxing Association (WBA) crown.

“Yes, we are open for a rematch with Taguchi,” said Villamor. “Kahit sa Japan, okay kami. We are open to fight there again.”

ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer though, hasn’t discussed any plans yet on Melindo’s next fight as the native of Cagayan de Oro City tries to heal first from the two cuts he suffered on both eyes during the 12-round fight against Taguchi.

Aldeguer said the worst of the two was inflicted on the right eye caused by an accidental headbutt.

“Yun ang pinakamalaki. Bagong cut yun,” he said, adding it was actually a new lesion from the one Melindo – known to be prone to facial cuts - suffered in his title defense against Hekkie Budler in Cebu last September.

No stitches were made to close the wound.

“Hindi na nila tinahi (sa Japan), kasi namamaga pa siya nun,” said Villamor. “Nilagyan na lang nila ng tape. Kaya parang natural healing na lang siya ngayon.”

Despite the loss at the end of the year, 2017 was definitely a great one for Melindo (37-3, 13 KOs), who finally realized his dream to become a world champion following his stunning first round demolition of highly-favored Akira Yaegashi also in Japan to win the IBF title belt last summer.

He later made a successful defense of the crown against Budler following a split decision win after a hard-fought, bloody fight at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu.

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