Melindo totally outclassed Buatkrathok and got the nod of all three judges. Judges Elmo Coloma and Arnel Pasion had identical scores of 98-92, while judge Edwin Barrientos scored it 97-93.
“It’s my first time fighting at 126 and I had a lot of adjustments that I needed to do. I’m still not that comfortable and I wasn’t able to completely dominate the opponent. I just used the sweet science of boxing,” Melindo said after the fight.
Melindo, the former International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion, was very patient all night long and picked his punches really well. His attack mostly came from his impeccable defense.
Melindo constantly tagged Buatkrathok with his lead counter left hook. He hurt Buatkrathok in the third round with a counter right hook.
Buatkrathok had his moment in the fourth round when he landed a right uppercut to the head of Melindo.
Buatkrathok roughened up Melindo with his clinches and short punches but Melindo was calm and composed and took it well.
In the seventh round, Melindo hurt Buatkrathok with a body shot but the latter survived the round.
Buatkrathok seemed to be frustrated by Melindo’s skills and was constantly looking at his coach, former World Boxing Council (WBC) super flyweight champion Suriyan Kaiganha, for instructions, but to no avail.
“There was a time where I felt that I could have knocked him out but I didn’t take any chances because when he fought (Reymart) Gaballo, he still stands up and throws punches. He sacrifices his body to land his punches. You need to be wise and not risk it because he’s a knockout puncher. This was a risky fight for me from the start because I was fighting in his weight division,” said Melindo.
The 34-year-old Melindo improved to 39-5 with 14 knockouts, while Buatkrathok dropped to 38-8 with 25 knockouts.
“Our plan is to fight for the OPBF regular belt. Once we get that, then maybe we can make a move for the WBC,” said Prime Stags Sports vice president Pocholo Padilla. “Two or three years in the making, hopefully we can get a fight with (Juan Francisco) Estrada.”
On the other hand, Kit Ceron Garces suffered his first career defeat after losing to tough Noli James Maquilan by unanimous decision in the co-main feature.
Maquilan was very effective with his aggression and landed the more accurate punches. Garces, who moved up to a higher weight division for this fight, tried his best to score a knockout, but Maquilan was just too tough and wouldn’t go down.
Maquilan is now 5-1 with three knockouts, while Garces fell to 5-1 with four knockouts.
In the undercard, slugger Alvin Camique (5-1, 1 KO) battered former amatuer standout Marco Pomar (4-2, 2 KOs) en route to a lopsided unanimous decision victory; Carlo Bacaro (10-0, 6 KOs) kept his unbeaten slate following a unanimous decision win over former WBC International super featherweight champion Ryan Sermona (21-12-1, 14 KOs); Ken Albert Billita (1-0-1) fought newcomer John Rey Labajo (0-0-1) to a split draw; and Kier Torregosa (2-2-1, 1 KO) defeated Henry Flor (0-3) by unanimous decision. (EKA)