MILAN Melindo failed in his first crack at a world title, losing by unanimous decision against Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico in their 12-round match Saturday night at the Venetian in Macau.
Melindo lost by scores of 118-109, 117-109, and 118-109 as Estrada retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) titles.
It was the first loss in 30 fights for the Filipino (12 KOs), who went down in the 11th round after an Estrada counter right found its way to the jaw of Melindo.
The challenger was again staggered in the final round as the champion connected on a solid uppercut, but was able to survive the onslaught and finish the fight on his feet.
The 25-year-old Melindo suffered a cut under the left eye by the time round six was over after holding his own against the lanky Mexican in the early rounds.
Estrada, 23, improved to 25-2 with 18 KOs as he successfully defended the WBO title he won over Brian Viloria last April with a 12-round split decision.
In the undercard featuring other Filipino fighters, Genesis Servania survived a war against Japanese Konosuke Tomiyama and score a ninth round technical split decision.
The 10-round super-bantamweight bout was stopped due to a cut suffered by the unbeaten Servania earlier from an unintentional headbutt. Scores were 87-82 and 86-83 for Servania and 85-84 for Tomiyama.
Servania improved to 22-0 with 8 KOs. He dictated the pace of the action-packed match by knocking down Tomiyama in the opening round, but the Japanese quickly retaliated and dropped the Filipino twice in the same round.
The ALA boxing stalwart then scored another knockdown in the third round despite being cut in the eye in the second.
Tomiyama fell to 23-6-1 with 8KOs
Dave Penalosa also kept his unbeaten mark (7-0, 5KOs) with a third round knockout of Ngaotawa Sithsaithong in another super-bantamweight fight.