FINALLY, Milan Melindo is a true-blue world champion.
The 29-year-old fighter from the ALA boxing stable dethroned Akira Yaegashi with a stunning first-round technical knockout on Sunday night to wrest the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior flyweight title at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan.
Melindo floored Yaegashi thrice in the opening round on the way to scoring the upset that made him a world champion at last after two unsuccessful attempts in the past.
The native of Cagayan de Oro improved his record to 36-2 (13 KOs), following the impressive win.
Not exactly known for his punching power, Melindo shocked the partisan crowd when he decked Yaegashi with a left hook for the first knockdown of the 12-round match.
The 34-year-old Jaoanese quickly got back on his feet shortly after the knockdown, but barely had he regained his bearing when another Melindo left hook decked him for the second time.
Yaegashi lost focus at that point, and opted to go toe-to-toe with the Filipino when the fight resumed. The decision proved fatal as Melindo connected with a heavy left-right combination to finish him off.
Referee Eddie Hernandez didn’t bother to make a count as he finally stopped the fight at the 2:45 mark of the round.
Melindo became the second fighter from Cebu-based ALA Promotions to become a world champion this year. Donnie Nietes earlier won the vacant IBF flyweight title after scoring a 12-round unanimous decision against Komgrich Nantapech of Thailand.
Yaegashi was making a third defense of the title he won over Javier Mendoza in 2015. His record fell to 25-6-0 with 15 KOs.