THIS time, the weight was hardly a concern for Milan Melindo.
The reigning International Boxing Federation junior flyweight champion breezed through the official weigh-in on Saturday for his title unification bout with Ryoichi Taguchi set on New Year’s eve in Tokyo, Japan.
The Filipino pride from Cagayan de Oro City tipped the scale at 107.5 lbs., during the pre-fight weigh-in at the Grand Palace Hotel. Taguchi, the reigning World Boxing Association title holder, came in at exactly the same weight.
Trainer Edito "Ala" Villamor said the stalwart of Cebu-based ALA boxing gym didn’t have any issue with his weight, unlike when he fought Hekkie Budler for his first title defense last September when he had to shed some pounds to make the 108-lb limit.
“Hindi naman sir,” said Villamor in a correspondence from Japan when asked if Melindo struggled again to make weight. “Maganda ang pagbaba ng timbang ni Milan. Iba sa laban nila kay Budler.”
Villamor, a former world-title challenger in the mid-90s, said the 29-year-old Melindo (37-2, 13 KOs) has no other issue to think about than the 12-round fight itself to be held at the Ota City general gymnasium in the heart of Tokyo.
“The best yung (weight) niya ngayon,” said the trainer. “Ready na si Milan.”
He better be as Taguchi, 31 and who holds a four-inch advantage in height, has been on a roll since 2014 when he outpointed Alberto Rossel to win the WBA version of the title.
The Japanese has since made five straight title defense – all in Japan – although he was held to a draw by unbeaten Venezuelan Carlos Canizales in a similar New Year’s eve bout held last year.
Taguchi carries a record of 26-2 with 12 KOs.
Melindo though, has proven himself capable of winning even before a hostile crowd as what he did when he won the IBF belt last May following a first round destruction of deposed champion Akira Yaegashi also in Japan.