Quijano: Milan ushers in Cebu’s boxing comeback

IT WAS great to see Milan Melindo back in the limelight and the event was the perfect launching pad to kick-start the return of local boxing events.

Kudos to Prime Stag Sports for bankrolling this OPBF featherweight title match, and though the crowd at the Cebu City Sports Complex was a bit sparse, I really couldn’t complain because the weather wasn’t optimal and we were lucky the rains stopped just in time for main bouts to proceed.

MILAN. I thought the fight was much closer than the scorecards turned in by the judges, but I too am just happy for Milan to get that much needed win.

His opponent Chaiwat Buatkrathok did well and I even thought he edged the fight. I had it four rounds for him and three for Milan, while the other three could have been scored either way because of the close nature of the proceedings.

The scores 98-92 (twice) and 97-93 seemed a tad too wide as the taller Chaiwat was able to control the fight early from the second round up until the middle rounds when Milan woke up and landed some big shots which stunned the visiting Thai.

Melindo who previously held the IBF and WBO light flyweight diadems was fighting a couple of divisions north of his comfort zone and didn’t appear as fast and sharp at the get-go.

But “El Metodico” is notorious for being a slow starter and the few loyal albeit rabid fans egged him on religiously to pick up the pace and thankfully he woke up just in time in the fourth round to rock Chaiwat with a huge uppercut followed up by a hook.

Though he was able to hurt Chaiwat, the latter exhibited enough guile and presence of mind to smother Milan’s offensive spurt and score on pitty-pat punches, utilizing his height and reach advantage.

No doubt a younger Milan could have finished off Chaiwat early but if you consider that most fighters have been quite inactive during the pandemic, that wasn’t too shabby of a performance.

At age 34, Milan is no spring chicken and while it is customary for boxers to move up in weight as they get older, this Last Rounder thinks the featherweight division is just too big of a fit for the spunky Milan.

FACES. After a long hiatus, it was great to see familiar faces ringside, especially my sports writing brethren in Cebu. It was great catching up while soaking in the atmosphere of a big fight event.

Hoping that this will prove to be the catalyst for more regular events this year.

LAST ROUND. It’s on Ian Copers who is back in town.

Thanks for visiting again. Pit Señor and cheers!