Two of boxing’s light flyweight world champions are going to unify their world titles on New Year’s eve.
IBF champion Milan ‘El Metodico’ Melindo from the Philippines will face the WBA king Ryoichi Taguchi on December 31st, 2017 at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Japan. The winner of the bout will start the brand new year with two of the four jewels in boxing’s 108 pound division.
Knows How To Win Rounds
Melindo won the IBF belt with a shocking first round knockout of three weight world champion Akira Yaegashi last May 21st, 2017 in Japan. He successfully defended his title with a close split decision win over Hekkie Budler last September 16th, 2017 at Cebu City, Philippines.
Prior to beating Yaegashi, Melindo was 0-2 in world title fights. El Metodico lost to Juan Francisco Estrada in 2013 and to Javier Mendoza in 2015. Since suffering that defeat though, Melindo has won five fights in a row and has established himself as one of the top light flyweights in the business.
The 29-year old Filipino doesn’t have the most power in the business but he certainly knows how to win rounds with his effectiveness and accuracy. Melindo has excellent combinations and a strong left hand. Instead of trying to knock his opponent out, he likes to put the pressure an outwork them.
Seventh Title Defense
Taguchi is coming off a July win over Robert Barrera. He’s won eight of his last nine bouts and has not lost since being defeated by Naoya Inoue in 2013. Taguchi will be making his 7th title defense against Melindo. He is a pressure fighter with good defense. Taguchi has an aggressive style and he waits for his opponents to make mistakes. He loves to work the body and and can hurt with his body shots although like Mellindo, he doesn’t have knockout power.
Taguchi has the home court advantage here and both fighters will look to dictate the tempo of the fight with their work rate. Without a solid knockout punch, the difference here should be Melindo’s fight IQ and hand speed. The Filipino boxer should be able to play off Taguchi’s aggressiveness and nail him with counter shots.
Taguchi will have his moments too in what should be a back and forth affair between high output fighters. In the end though, it should be Melindo who’s going to come out victorious in a close contest.