Amidst pre-fight drama, Melindo ready to defend world championship at Pinoy Pride 42
Santino Honasan on Sep 16, 2017 10:20 AM
Milan Melindo, Hekkie Budler battle for the IBF light-flyweight championship in the main event of Pinoy Pride 42 in Cebu City
There's a saying in combat sports that goes "You're not really a champion unless you defend your belt."
Saturday night at Pinoy Pride 42, reigning IBF light-flyweight champion Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo will get a chance to solidify his place as champion when he defends his title for the first time against South African challenger Hekkie 'The Hexecutioner' Budler.
In Budler, Melindo faces somewhat a mirror-image of himself. Both are 29 years old, both are around the 5'2-5'3 height range, and both have a 65'' reach.
Even in records, Melindo (36-2, 13 KO) and Budler (31-2, 10 KO) are in the same ballpark.
Still, when the bell rings, records and statistics are thrown out the window.
Melindo is coming off an impressive first-round knockout win over Japan's Akira Yaegashi to become the new IBF 108-pound king. Asked when he looks to do the same to Budler in their title bout on Saturday, his response was simple: "I don't predict the knockout."
Budler on the other hand, is coming off an eighth-round stoppage of Filipino Joey Canoy back in February. Budler says that he's ready for whatever Melindo has in store for him on fight night. "We're ready for whatever he brings to us."
In a highly-anticipated matchup, ALA Boxing's Jonas "Zorro" Sultan gets the biggest shot of his career when he takes on former IBF flyweight champion John Riel "Quadro Alas" Casimero in an IBF super-flyweight title eliminator.
One of ALA Boxing's fastest rising stars, Sultan (13-3, 9 KO) is riding a four-fight winning streak and is coming off an eighth-round KO win over former world champion Sonny Boy Jaro.
Casimero (24-3, 15 KO) on the other hand, is coming off a Unanimous Decision win over Jecker Buhawi in his super-flyweight debut. Before jumping up to the 115-pound division, Casimero was the reigning IBF 112-pound king, defeating Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng to claim the title and then defenfding it against England's Charlie Edwards in late 2016.
The winner of this all-Filipino title elminator will get the shot at reigning IBF super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas.
Also on the card, Jason 'El Nino' Pagara returns to the ring to face Kenya's James Onyango in a 10-round co-main event, while former world title challenger 'King' Arthur Villanueva takes on Richie Mepranum in another exciting all-Filipino contest.
Pinoy Pride 42: Clash for Glory takes place on Saturday, September 16th at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.
Full Pinoy Pride 42 Fight Card
IBF light-flyweight championship: Milan Melindo vs. Hekkie Budler
146 lbs - 10 rds: Jason Pagara vs. James Onyango
115 lbs - 12 rds: Jonas Sultan vs. John Riel Casimero
118 lbs - 10 rds: Arthur Villanueva vs. Richie Mepranum
113 lbs - 8 rds: Kevin Jake Cataraja vs. Wiljan Ugbaniel
122 lbs - 8 rds: Virgel Vitor vs. Alvin Bais
115 lbs - 6 rds: Kenneth Gentallan vs. Jeffrey Stella
112 lbs - 4 rds: Jeno Macapobre vs. Mel Ando
Catch Pinoy Pride 42: Clash For Glory on Sunday, September 17, 3:30 PM on ABS-CBN channel 2 and 6:30 PM on S+A channel 23.