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By Dong Secuya
Fri, 24 Mar 2023

Former unified world champion Milan Melindo is set to defend his OPBF featherweight belt against Jong Seon Kang of South Korea on June 24 in South Korea.

"The contract has been signed and the date is set," Victor Cogal, Melindo's manager has informed

Melindo (39-5-0, 14KOs) who won world titles at junior flyweight, is on a comeback trail after three successive losses starting from Dec. 31, 2018 when he lost his IBF/WBA 108 lb titles to Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan and then lost to another Japanese Kenshiro Teraji for the WBC light flyweight title on Oct. 7, 2018. Melindo then moved up to super flyweight to fight another Japanese Junto Nakatani on Oct. 5, 2019 but lost by 6th round TKO.

Melindo took a reprieve for more than two years and returned to action in April 2022 as a super featherweight (128 lbs) against Cris Omayao whom he defeated by 6th technical decision.

Melindo's last fight was against grizzled veteran Chaiwat Buatkrathok (39-8-0, 25KOs) of Thailand for the OPBF featherweight title last Jan. 11 in Cebu City. Melindo won that fight comfortably by unanimous decision.

The question is can the 5'2" Melindo hold the fort at this weight? The highly regarded ring technician who goes by the moniker 'El Metodico' performed well against the 5'5" Buatkrathok but this time around he will be facing a 5'8" Korean who has been fighting as a featherweight his entire professional career.

Kang (16-1-2, 9KOs) has already faced four Filipinos in Tomjune Mangubat, John Ray Logatiman, Pete Apolinar and Lienard Sarcon. He won all of them except against Sarcon who dealt the only loss of his career in a fight held last September in Siheung, South Korea where Sarcon sent Kang to the canvas in the 3rd round.

Melindo, needless to say, has literally a tall order in front of him and it remains to be seen if his ring expertise will carry the day or he could be exposed by moonlighting in a weight class that is far too stretched out for him. Melindo has been fighting from 108 to 115 lbs weight classes throughout his career and putting in more than 10 lbs in his small frame to mix it up with the big boys could be a bit risky and dangerous especially if he faces an opponent with loaded hands.

But we'll see if the ring magician from Cagayan de Oro can pull another rabbit out of his hat this time around.

Photo: Melindo (L) in action against Thailand's Buatkrathok last Jan. 11 in Cebu City.

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

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