Valiant Melindo comes up short in New Year's Eve brawl.
A valiant Milan Melindo falls to Ryoichi Taguchi in Japan (FILE PHOTO)
ALA Boxing standout Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo came to fight for all twelve rounds, but it wasn't enough to get the nod as he came up short, losing to Japan's Ryoichi Taguchi via Unanimous Decision in their IBF and WBA junior light flyweight world title unification bout in Japan, Sunday evening.
The Pinoy started off strong, finding ways to get inside of the bigger and longer Taguchi's range and connecting on clean shots, even ending the first round with a flurry that had the Japanese champion backing up.
It didn't take long for Taguchi to make use of his reach as he began to keep Melindo at bay with long jabs, while connecting on body shots of his own.
By the eighth round, Taguchi had gotten his groove and was able to dart in and out of Melindo's range while getting offense in.
The Pinoy champion, who had been cut above both eyebrows at this point, wasn't going to let Taguchi off easy, as he became the aggressor in the ninth round, targeting Taguchi's body and landing a couple of clean hooks late in the round.
Melindo and Taguchi decided to fight close range in the tenth round, with the Pinoy going for broke, while the Japanese hometown favorite obliged and went high, teeing off on Melindo's head.
Melindo remained focused on Taguchi's body in round eleven, but the Japanese champion defended and countered well.
The final three minutes was an all out war, as the two elite 108-pounders threw caution to the wind and went to war for an entertaining finish to the fight.
After twelve rounds, the judges scored the fight for Taguchi, 116-112, 117-111, and 117-111, giving him the clear-cut unanimous decision win while retaining his WBA world title and becoming the new IBF junior flyweight world champion.
Melindo falls to 37-3 in his career, with his all his losses coming in world title bouts.
Taguchi improves to 27-2-2, and extends his undefeated streak to ten straight bouts.