Undefeated Milan Melindo took a big step in his quest for a world title shot with a hard-fought but convincing victory over former IBF light flyweight champion Carlos Tamara of Colombia Saturday before an enthusiastic crowd at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City, Saturday.
Melindo dominated Tamara in the first five rounds, coasted in the next three then finished strong to win on the scorecards of all three judges by a comfortable margin in the 10-round, flyweight clash.
Edward Ligas had Melindo the winner at 97-93 while Salven Lagumbay and Edgar Olalo turned in identical scores of 98-92. The Inquirer scored the fight 97-93 for Melindo.
Melindo, who is ranked No. 4 by the WBO, improved to 23-0 with 7 knockouts while Tamara, who beat Fil-Hawaiian Brian Viloria for the IBF light flyweight title early in the year, dropped to 21-6 with 15 knockouts.
Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation flyweight champion Rocky Fuentes, another world rated fighter eyeing a world title shot, scored a spectacular second round TKO over Thai challenger Inthanon Sithchamuang in the undercard.
The hard-hitting Fuentes, who was making his third title defense and the first before a hometown crowd, caught the
Thai with a thundering left hook that sent him sprawling on the canvas.
Japanese referee/judge Kazuo Abe did not bother to count and ruled it a TKO at 2:19 of the second round.
Meanwhile, former IBF minimum weight champion Florante “Little Pacquiao” Condes continued his winning streak on the comeback trail with a seventh round TKO over Japan’s Kenichi Horikawa.
Melindo negated the three-inch height advantage of Tamara by closing the distance and using a stiff jab and combinations as well as stinging uppercuts.
He rocked Tamara in a furious exchange in round five when Melindo tried to fulfill his prediction of scoring a knockout, but the Colombian proved too tough.