FOR his first title defense, International Boxing Federation (IBF) World Jr. Flyweight champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo will face a dangerous challenger, Hekkie “The Hexecutioner” Budler on Sept. 16 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
ALA Promotions, led by its president and CEO Michael Aldeguer and Melindo and chief trainer Edito Villamor, formally launched the Pinoy Pride 42 boxing card yesterday at the Waterfront Hotel’s Caspian Room, which will headline Melindo, who will defend his title for the first time since winning it from Akira Yaegashi of Japan last May.
Budler is ranked no.6 by IBF among 108-lbs. fighter, and hold an impressive ring record of 31-2-0, 10KOs and is the current IBO light flyweight champion. Melindo is 36-2-0, 13KOs.
“This is an optional challenge and we wanted Milan to fight a tough fighter on his way to the mandatory title challenge. There are a lot of names that came out right now but first we will concentrate on this fight. Budler is not an easy opponent and according to his credentials this is going to be a good match up as both fighters hold excellent fighting skills,” Aldeguer said.
Fighting against a Filipino boxer is not new to Budler, who hails from Johannesburg, South Africa.
He has fought veteran fighters including Juanito Rubillar, whom he met twice, former IBF minimum-weight champion Florante Condes, former WBC Youth Inter-continental 108-lbs. champion, and Joey Canoy on his last fight last February.
Budler was a two-division world champion, as he had held the IBO minimumweight title and the WBA World 105lbs division title at the same time and successfully defended it four times before losing both belts to Nicaraguan Byron Rojas in March last year.
The Hexecutioner moved up to the 108ldbs division only in October last year.
“I am so upbeat about this fight. It was heart breaking to narrowly lose the WBA belt last year; all we wanted was the opportunity to make things right. We put Hekkie’s name forward and although he’s not mandatory, we are honored to get the clal. Hekkie is 29. Do we want to risk it all? Yes. We’re going to Melindo’s home turf, but it’s a very winnable fight. The odds are against us, but we’re going to win. Hekkie has fought in hostile territory before, but he’s mature enough, and good enough to win. He must bring his A game and it’s my job to ensure that happens,” said Budler’s trainer Colin Nathan.
Melindo, meanwhile is confident that he could win the war and is looking forward to etching his name into the annals of Philippine boxing.
“Although, this is a tough fight, I am confident that I would win this. And I am looking forward to achieving my goal to become the first Filipino to unify all belts. The eight division world champion is already unreachable but an undisputed world champion is achievable. That is what I asked from sir Michael and especially from sir ALA (Antonio Aldeguer), a unification fight,” Melindo said.
“This is great news. 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. I’m sure the Filipinos will watcdh my fights; they’re all over YouTube. But I’ll change up a few things and do what I’m best at,” Budler said in a press statement. (RCM)