A bloodied Milan Melindo did not have an easy night in making his first defense of the IBF junior flyweight title.
He was able to secure a twelve round split decision win over former world champion Hekkie Budler of South Africa in the main event of “Pinoy Pride 42” at Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu Saturday. Both fighters worked hard in each round, with Melindo giving it his all to edge out a lot of the close moments.
Melindo, who struggled to make the division limit on Friday, suffered cuts near both eyes that were caused by accidental head butts. After twelve rounds of action, two of the judges saw it 117-110 and 115-112 in favor of Melindo, while the other judge scored it 115-113 for Budler.
Budler (31-3, 10 KOs), a former WBA minimumweight champion and current IBO junior flyweight title holder, suffered his third career defeat.
Budler has been able to recover since suffering a shocking loss to huge underdog Bryon Rojas last March in Kempton Park. He won two in a row and the IBO title in February, which helped him secure his shot at Melindo.
Melindo on the other hand captured the title with an unexpected shocker back in May when he traveled to Japan and knocked out world champion Akira Yaegashi. He had previously won the IBF’s interim title last November with a decision win over Teeraphong Utaida.
Also on the card, Jason Pagara (40-2-1, 25KOs) and James Onyango 23-11-2, 19 KOs) fought to a ten round split draw.
In an IBF junior bantamweight eliminator, Jonas Sultan (14-3, 9 KOs) won a twelve round unanimous decision over John Riel Casimero (24-3, 15 KOs).
“King” Arthur Villanueva (31-2, 16 KOs) stopped Richie Mepranum (31-7-1, 8 KOs) in five rounds.