Philippines' New world champion pic.twitter.com/IgL3jUhbQx
— ALA Promotions (@ALAPromotions1) May 21, 2017
The Philippines has a new world boxing champion.
Milan Melindo bucked the odds and scored a sensational first-round technical knockout of Japan’s Akira Yaegashi to win the International Boxing Federation light-flyweight title in front of a stunned crowd at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan.
The third time was a charm for Melindo, who fell short on his two previous world title bids, losing by technical decision to Mexico’s Javier Mendoza in 2015 for this same IBF light-flyweight crown and dropping a unanimous decision to Juan Francisco Estrada, also of Mexico, in 2013 for the World Boxing Organization flyweight belt.
Yaegashi, who entered the bout a heavy favorite, won the belt from Mendoza in December 2015 and was making his third defense in front of a hometown crowd. But Melindo had other plans.
After a feeling-out session over the first half of the opening round, Melindo decked Yaegashi at the 1:32 mark with a left-right combination to the head. The champion looked stunned but managed to make it back on his feet. Twenty-eight seconds later, Melindo sent Yaegashi down again with a left hook, but again the Japanese fighter managed to beat the count. Smelling blood, Melindo went for the kill, stalking Yaegashi before unleashing a right straight that sent the latter down for the third time, this time for good as the referee waved off the fight with just 15 seconds left in the first round.
Melindo improved to 36-2 with 13 knockouts. Yaegashi lost for the sixth time in 31 fights while also seeing his five-fight winning streak come to an end.
The Cagayan De Oro native now based in Cebu where he fights out of the ALA boxing stable joins WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, IBF junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, and IBF flyweight champion and ALA stablemate Donnie Nietes as the only reigning Filipino world boxing champions.
Here’s a clip of the entire bout: