Melindo new IBF champion

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Milan Melindo pulled off a major shocker in Tokyo Sunday night, May 21, stopping Japanese Akira Yaegashi in the first round to clinch the International Boxing Federation light flyweight crown at Ariake Coliseum.

Not really a heavy hitter, Melindo dropped Yaegashi three times in succession, prompting American Eddie Hernaez to call a halt at the 2:45 mark.

Melindo, who failed in his first two cracks at a world title, sneaked in a solid left hook which had Yaegashi down halfway through the round.

Seizing the opportunity, Melindo caught his still wobbly foe with another left hook, sending Yaegashi to the floor anew.

Rather than let his senses clear first, the Japanese opted to engage the Filipino toe-to-toe and paid the price as he got tagged by a wicked left-right combination, according to veteran boxing matchmaker/writer Joe Koizumi.

Melindo became the second fighter from Cebu-based ALA Promotions to become a world champion this year. Donnie Nietes earlier won the vacant IBF flyweight title after scoring a 12-round unanimous decision against Komgrich Nantapech of Thailand.

The 28-year-old Melindo raised his record to 36-2 with 13 knockouts, while Yaegashi, defending his title for the third time, dropped to 25-6, 13 KOs.

In 2013, Melindo lost to Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada in their tussle for the World Boxing Organization flyweight tile. Given another chance in 2015, Melindo bungled his bid for the IBF light flyweight title against Mexican Javier Mendoza. - ROY LUARCA/

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