A YEAR away from the ring has proven well for former world champion Milan Melindo. It has given him much needed time to recuperate and bounce back stronger for another push at a world title.
“It has been very useful. It has given him enough time to heal,” ALA Gym head trainer Edito Villamor told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.
Melindo suffered a huge cut above his left eye that cost him his world title fight with World Boxing Council (WBC) light flyweight champion Ken Shiro in Oct. 7, 2018 in Yokohama, Japan.
The fight was stopped in the seventh round due to the deep gash.
Villamor said the cut has fully healed naturally and that Melindo is ready for another title run, this time at the super flyweight division.
The 31-year-old Melindo, however, will have his hands full in his return as he takes on unbeaten 21-year-old Japanese prospect Junto Nakatani in a 10-rounder on Oct. 5, 2019 at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
“This is a very important fight for him because if he wins, he can get his career back on track and fight for a world title again,” said Villamor.
Though he hasn’t fought for a long time, Villamor said that Melindo has kept himself in shape and that he’ll be ready on fight night.
“He has been training and sparring regularly. His movement is looking good,” he said. “His conditioning is very good.”
Melindo has been sparring with his younger stable mates, the likes of KJ Cataraja, Joyjoy Formentera and Ben Villafuerte.
Nakatani is one of the most promising young pugs in Japan.
After a short amateur career, Nakatani turned pro in 2015 at the age of 17. He is on a tear, winning all 19 of his fights. He has a string of victories over Filipinos - the likes of Joel Taduran, Jeronil Borres, Dexter Alimento amd Philip Luis Cuerdo.
Melindo is 37-4 with 13 knockouts, while Nakatani is 19-0 with 14 knockouts. (EKA)