MILAN Melindo was ready to go 12 full rounds against Akira Yaegashi, so it came as a surprise to him and his team that their world title fight on Sunday night didn’t even last three minutes.
The 29-year-old Filipino admitted not expecting a quick ending to his slugfest with Yaegashi that saw Melindo score a stunning first-round technical knockout to wrest the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior flyweight title at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan.
“Nagulat ako. Hindi ko rin akalain. Hindi ko inaasahan na matatapos agad 'yung laban,” said the latest Filipino world champion early Monday morning from the Japanese capital.
“Respetadong boxer si Yaegashi sa Japan, three-division world champion, at tsaka rated din sa world.”
Melindo decked the Japanese champion three times in the opening round before referee Eddie Hernandez put a stop to the mismatch at the 2:45 mark.
The stalwart of Cebu-based ALA boxing stable knocked down the former champion with a wicked left hook, but was aware he already hurt Yaegashi with a body shot before that.
“Nag-upper (cut) kasi ako tapos nag-body shot. Nung tinamaan ko siya, lumalayo na,” he observed.
“Kaya pinasok ko na. E, ang balak ko lang maging impressive every round,” added Melindo.
No rematch clause has been incorporated in the fight contract and Melindo said it’s up to promoter Michael Aldeguer, president of ALA boxing, on whether to give the Japanese fighter a shot at regaining his title.
Aldeguer, trainers Edito and Edmund Villamor, along with Michael Domingo were back in the country on Monday, while Melindo opted to stay in Japan for another day to take a well-deserved respite.