AFTER getting past a weight issue, Milan Melindo now focuses on the job at hand — defending his International Boxing Fedration light-flyweight crown.
The pride of ALA Boxing stakes his world title for the first time on Saturday against Hekkie Budler of South Africa, a former world title holder at strawweight, at the Waterfront Casino and Hotel in Cebu City.
Melindo, 29, won the championship belt four months ago following a stunning first round disposal of Akira Yaegashi in Japan to claim his first world crown.
He shocked everybody anew on Friday when he came overweight during the official weigh-in as he tipped the scale over by 1.25 pounds.
After sweating it out for about an hour, the champion came and back and weighed in at exactly 108 lbs. Budler also came at the required weight of 108 lbs.
The Melindo camp itself was surprised with the champion's first attempt at the scales, stressing Melindo was at 108 lbs. when he checked his weight personally on the morning of the proceedings.
Nonetheless, he vowed to make up for it when he takes on beating Budler.
Melindo has a ring record of 36-2 with 13 KOs. Budler is not far behind with his 31-2, 10 KOs record.
Sharing the limelight is the title eliminator bout between former IBF flyweight king Johnriel Casimero and Jonas 'Zorro' Sultan.
In a rare all-Filipino showdown with so much at stake, the winner in the main undercard gets to challenge reigning IBF junior bantamweight champ Jerwin Ancajas.
Casimero (24-3, 15 KOs) enters the ring carrying a handful of experience as an ex-two time world title holder. Sultan, also fighting out of the ALA stable, owns a 13-3 record with 9 KOs.
In another interesting bout, Arthur Villanueva (30-2, 16 KOs) battles Richie Mepranum (31-6, 8 KOs) in a duel pitting two former Filipino world title challengers.