Milan Melindo hopes third time's the charm as he challenges Japanese champ for IBF jr. flyweight crown
Milan Melindo and Akira Yaegashi shortly after Saturday's official weigh-in at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan. Photo courtesy of Edito Villamor

MILAN Melindo again attempts to win a world title on Sunday when he vies for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior flyweight title against reigning champion Akira Yaegashi at Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan.

Melindo, the current interim junior flyweight holder, had two chances of becoming a regular champion in the past, but failed in both attempts against  Juan Francisco Estrada (2013) and Javier Mendoza (2015).

He’s hoping to change his fortunes this time.

The 29-year-old pride of ALA boxing tipped the scale at 107.5 lbs during the fight’s official weigh-in Saturday. The 34-year-old champion also came in at the same weight of 107.5 lbs.

On the same year Melindo lost to Mendoza began Yaegashi’s reign as IBF king after dethroning Mendoza via unanimous decision also at the Ariake Colosseum.

He has since defended the belt two times, the last of which was a 12-round technical knockout of Wittawas Basapean of Thailand six months ago. The Japanese, a native of Kitakami, Iwate, holds a record of 25-5-0, with 15 KOs.

Melindo, who hails from Cagayan de Oro, won the interim belt with a unanimous decision win over Teeraphong Utaida of Thailand last November. His ring record stands at 35-2, including 12 KOs.

Trainer Edito Villamor likes the chances of Melindo.

"Malaki ang chance ni Milan kung walang pressure sa kanyang mind at ma-deliver niya ang game plan," he said from Tokyo.

"Hope na magawa niya na walang pressure sa fight."

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