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By Dong Secuya
Wed, 23 Nov 2022

Cebu -- Former world champion Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo and rising undefeated prospect Kit 'Piston Punch' Garces will co-headline a January 11, 2023 boxing show during the Sinulog week festivities at the Cebu City Sports Complex in a first big local boxing event expected to gather huge crowds.

This was announced today at a press conference organized by Prime Stag Sports, the event's promoter, held at the office of Cebu City vice-mayor Raymond Garcia who fully supported the upcoming event.

Pochollo Padilla, vice-president of Prime Stag Sports, said his team will announce shortly Melindo's and Garces' opponents as well as the complete line-up of the whole card which will include more than 10 professional fights and a slew of amateur fights. Padilla added that the boxing event will be a whole day extravaganza.

Vice-Mayor Garcia briefly attended the press conference to voice his all-out support for the event and also said, "I invite boxing organizers and promoters to come to Cebu and hold your events here and my office will give all out support." He added that the Cebu Sports Commission has a program to discover new boxing talents from the grassroots.

Also present during the press conference were Cebu City Sports Commissioner Lorenzo Chao Sy and Mayor Michael Rama's secretary on special projects Ramil Ayuman.

L-R: Trainer Fernando Ocon, Milan Melindo, Kit Garces, Vice Mayor Raymond Garcia, Cebu Sports Commissioner Lorenzo Chao Sy and Pocholo Padilla of Prime Stag Promotions.

The Cebu City Sports Complex was the venue of the Fernando Montiel vs Z Gorres WBO world title fight in 2006 and the Donaire vs Zsolt Bedak, also for the WBO title, in 2016 promoted by the defunct ALA Promotions with both fights each managed to attract more than 20,000 spectators.

Melindo (38-5-0, 14KOs) won the IBF world flyweight title with a shock first round knockout victory over long time Japanese title holder Akira Yaegashi in May, 2017 and defended it once against Hekkie Budler of South Africa later in September of the same year before he lost it to Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan on Dec. 31, 2017 in a unification fight with Taguchi holding the WBA title. The highly-regarded Melindo experienced defeats in title challenges against Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (WBO, 2013), Mexican Javier Mendoza (IBF, 2015) and Japanese Kenshiro Teraji (WBC, 2018).

Melindo, now 34 years old, said he was thankful to have connected with Prime Stag Sports and to be able to fight again in front of the Cebuano crowd. "I've been fighting here for many years so I'm very happy to be fighting here again," said Melindo who only returned to the ring last April with a TKO victory against Crison Omayao in Zamboanga after his defeat to Junto Nakatani of Japan in October, 2019.

"I am still hungry," Melindo continued. "My goal is to have a rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada because I have an unfinished business with him." Estrada, 32, is set to fight fierce rival Chocolatito Gonzalez, 35, for the vacant WBC superfly title on Dec. 3.

Garces (5-0-0, 4KOs) is a seasoned amateur fighter with more than 300 fights. He last fought against Ian Donaire (4-2-1, 3KOs) in the 5th of this month in Talisay City, Cebu where he won by unanimous decision. Padilla, Garces' handler, said they are looking at giving Garces four fights next year and a regional title for a world ranking.

Both Melindo and Garces will be trained by former boxer Fernando Ocon who as a rookie trainer, guided Marlon Tapales to become a world champion when he beat Pungluang Sor Singyu of Thailand in Ayutthaya in 2016.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Dong Secuya.

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