Melindo to make first title defense against ex-champ Budler
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Milan Melindo will make the first defense of his IBF junior flyweight title against Hekkie Budler on September 16 at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.
The fight will be the first for Melindo (36-2, 13 knockouts) since his shocking first round technical knockout of Akira Yaegashi in May to win the title. The Cagayan de Oro native is one of just 3 current world titleholders from the Philippines, with the others being his ALA Promotions' stablemate Donnie Nietes who holds the IBF flyweight title and IBF junior bantamweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas.
The fight was announced at a press conference in Cebu City on Thursday, July 13.
"No matter how many fights he’s had, he’s never fought anyone like me. I...advise him not to put his guard down, because then I might give him the first KO defeat of his career," said Melindo in a statement.
"I already fought some of the best world champions in the world, including Juan Francisco Estrada, so he (Budler) is no threat to me. I have a lot of confidence because God is with me. We’re gonna fight in my territory, where I will run the show and I promise an impressive win."
Budler (31-2, 10 KOs) of Johannesburg, South Africa is a former WBA strawweight titleholder, having held the title from 2014-16 before losing it on a close decision to Byron Rojas.
Budler, rated number 6 by the International Boxing Federation, is a familiar name to Filipino boxing fans, having fought Juanito Rubillar to a pair of razor thin decisions, plus beaten Florante Condes, Renan Trongco, and in his last fight, stopped Joey Canoy in February.
"Melindo is a very good fighter, probably the best opponent I will have faced. Going on the road doesn't faze me. I'll fight anywhere," said Budler. "I'm sure the Filipinos will watch my fights; they're all over YouTube. But I'll change up a few things and do what I'm best at."
Budler's promoter Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions calls Melindo "a huge mountain to climb in the Phillipines," but says the matchup "will be a credit to boxing."
Both fighters are 29 years old. The fight will headline the Pinoy Pride 42 card promoted by ALA. The co-main event has yet to be determined, says ALA president Michael Aldeguer. – Rappler.com