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Melindo out to snatch Taguchi’s WBA jewels

By Nick Giongco

Milan Melindo

Milan Melindo

The stage is set for International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Milan Melindo’s bold bid to annex the World Boxing Association (WBA) crown of Japanese Ryoichi Taguchi in their light-flyweight title fight tonight in Tokyo.

During yesterday’s official weighin, Melindo, as promised, hardly had difficulties conquering the scales.

He came in at 107.3 lbs.

Taguchi also breezed through the pre-fight ritual and came in at 107. 5 lbs. The division limit is 108 lbs.

There’s only one issue to settle when they square off at 8:30 pm (Manila time) the Ota City Gymnasium, a daunting task Melindo feels he can pull off in impressive fashion.

“I trained like no other for this fight and I feel I did everything needed during training camp (in Cebu) to get the win,” said Melindo in Filipino.

Melindo said all bases had been covered during the runup to this fight.

“Sparring-wise, I think I did well because there was even one time I did two 16 rounders,” said Melindo, who arrived in Tokyo the day after Christmas.

Taguchi will be making the seventh defense of his WBA belt while Melindo will be risking it for only the second time since winning it via a first-round knockout of Akira Yaegashi last May also in the Japanese capital.

Last September, Melindo struggled against mandatory challenger Hekki Budler of South Africa as the fight ended on a split decision.