“Kung ikaw yung may hawak ng lahat ng belt sa isang division, parang mahirap habulin yun, diba?” (Photo courtesy of Edito Villamor on Instagram: @coach_ala)
For years, we watched Filipino boxer Milan “El Metodico” Melindo work his way to the top. It wasn’t always an easy path to glory, but through sheer perseverance, determination, and belief, the ALA Boxing standout finally reached the top of the mountain after claiming the IBF Light Flyweight world championship last weekend against Japan’s Akira Yaegashi.
Becoming a world champion was always the goal, but now that he can accomplished that, what’s next?
It’s simple, really. Milan Melindo wants to become king of the light flyweights in boxing.
To do that, the 29-year old Cagayanon wants to challenge all the reigning 108-pound world champions out there.
“Mas maganda yung unification, para yung ibang belt.” Melindo said. “
Kung IBF ka ngayon, tapos lalaban ka sa WBO, dalawang belt ka na.”
There have been a number of multiple champions in boxing history. Currently, only Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward hold three world titles in their weight class, while Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford, and Jorge Linares hold two world championships in their respective weight divisions.
Melindo’s goal is to hold all the major light flyweight world championships. One down, three to go.
“Parang super champion ka na, kung makuha mo yung apat na high-position belt, yung WBA, WBO, IBF tsaka WBC, parang king ka na sa isang timbang. Ikaw ang may hawak sa isang timbang.”
Coincidentally enough, all the current light flyweight champions are Japanese. Ryochi Taguchi has been the WBA champion since 2014 with four defenses under his belt, while unbeaten Ken Shiro recently dethroned Ganigan Lopez for the WBC belt. Kosei Tanaka won the vacant WBO title back in December of 2016, and has defended it once.
For Melindo, the feat is about carving a name for himself in the annals of Filipino boxing as well, giving examples such a eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao and teammate Donnie Nietes as examples.
“Kung ikaw yung may hawak ng lahat ng belt sa isang division, parang mahirap habulin yun, diba? Si Manny Pacquiao, eight-division world champion, hindi na mahahabol yun. Si Donnie Nietes, longest Filipino world champion, mahirap na din habulin yun.”
Time will tell if Melindo actually gets to achieve this goal. If he does, then it’s safe to say that he’ll find a place for himself in Pinoy boxing history, alongside Pacquiao and Nietes.
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