Melindo returns to ring in January

FORMER International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion Milan Melindo returns to action on Jan. 11 in Prime Stags Sports’ Sinulog boxing show at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

“I may be fighting at 126 pounds. I fought at 130 pounds last April. So I’m slowly going down in weight and my target is 115 pounds,” Melindo told SunStar Cebu.

Melindo’s opponent is yet to be determined.

Melindo is serious on moving down in weight and campaign in the stacked super flyweight division and hopefully become a world champion again.

“I want to have a rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada in the future. I have some unfinshed business against my rival,” said Melindo. “I know it’s not easy to climb to the highest position and be at the top of the 115-pound division, wherein there are a lot of legendary world champions in that weight category. I will do my best to get to that position and become a unified world champion. As I’ve said, there is no easy way to reach my dream but I will try and do my best to capture the title being the best (in the weight division).”

The 34-year-old Melindo’s first world title attempt was against then World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight king Estrada in Macau in 2013. He lost to Estrada via unanimous decision.

Melindo moved back down to light flyweight and challenged Javier Mendoza, who held the IBF light flyweight belt at that time, in 2015 in Mexico. Yet again, Melindo fell short and lost by technical decision after the fight was stopped due to a huge gash above Mendoza’s left eye.

Melindo finally had his moment in 2017 as he demolished Akira Yaegashi in the first round to win the IBF light flyweight strap. He had one successful title defense against South African star Hekkie Budler on that same year in Cebu City before losing his belt to Ryoichi Taguchi by unanimous decision also in 2017 in Japan.

After a three year layoff, Melindo made a successful comeback last April 8, when he stopped Crison Omayao in the sixth round in Zamboanga City.

Melindo has 38 wins, five losses and 14 wins by way of knockout. (EKA)