For 2017 alone, IBF light flyweight champion Milan Melino (37-3, 13KOs) has been successful in his two world title outings against some of the biggest names in his division. One would think both fights would be enough for the new world champion in one year, but Milan has obviously set a different schedule before he celebrates a new one.
On December 31st, exactly 7 months and 10 days after he won his first world title, Melindo faces current WBA light flyweight “super” champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12KOs) in an IBF/WBA world unification championship.
31-year old Taguchi comes into the fight hoping to keep his unblemished world title record of 5 wins and a draw since 2014.
On the other hand, Milan’s goal to unify titles in the 108lb division is no secret in the boxing world. In previous interviews, he strongly expressed his intent on going after the three other world champions in his weight class.
Since winning the interim title against Thailander Teeraphong Utaida November of last year, Melindo’s hard work and determination earned him the IBF world Jr. Flyweight title from Akira Yaegashi earlier this year in May, and an impressive win over South African Hekkie Budler for his title’s first defense just last September.
Working closely with Milan, ALA Gym’s Edito Villamor discloses he has never seen a more dedicated and determined Melindo in training. “It’s amazing how he’s (Milan) improved. You can see he’s pouring out everything he has to make his dreams come true,” said Villamor.
The team arrived in Japan today, and according to Villamor, Milan is still actively preparing for the biggest match of his career yet, saying, “we’re right now focusing on his mental readiness, reviewing our game plan again and again, so he won’t forget what we’ve trained for the past months.”
“He’s ready to take anyone in his path to reach his goal. He wants to make history and he wants to do it now. We can see how badly he wants it. There’s no turning back,” added Villamor.
The Melindo-Taguchi IBF/WBA unification championship will be staged in Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan.