By Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO No.1 ranked flyweight Milan Melindo is aching for a world title shot but will have to first overcome the challenge of former WBA Interim champion Jean Piero Perez of Venezuela in “Pinoy Pride XVI” at the Waterfront Hotel & Casino in Cebu on September 22.
The fight card will be telecast by ABS-CBN on September 23 over Channel 2 at 10:15 a.m. with a replay over Studio 23.
ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told the Manila Standard that Melindo is eager to get a world title shot and that “hopefully next year” he will be able to negotiate a title fight for the most technically sound fighter in the ALA Gym with an undefeated record of 27-0 with 11 knockouts.
In fact the WBO champion is Filipino Brian Viloria while there are five other Filipinos including Melindo ranked among the top six challengers. Among them are undefeated Froilan “The Sniper” Saludar at No.2 followed by OPBF champion Rocky Fuentes, Rodel Mayol and Glenn Donaire, brother of WBO/IBF super bantamweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire who is ranked No. 6.
Aldeguer said Melindo and Fuentes who will defend his Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation title against Japan-based North Korean Myung Ho Lee have had some furious sparring sessions during training for their respective fights. Before his sparring sessions with Fuentes, Melindo sparred with the bigger bantamweight Albert “Prince” Pagara.
Fuentes, nicknamed “The Road Warrior” faces a tough challenge from Lee who will have a group of 30 supporters flying in from Japan for the fight according to Aldeguer.
The 29 year old Lee with a record of 15-1 with 5 knockouts stands 5’7” and is coming off an 8th round technical decision over Sho Nazakawa last March 20 and has had impressive wins over Filipino fighters Albert Alcoy over whom he scored a 6th round TKO on October 3, 2010 and a 2nd round knockout of Alfred Nagal on September 10, 2006.
Melindo’s opponent for the WBO International Flyweight title is 31 year old Perez who won the title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Mexico’s Jesus Jimenez on January 29 last year.
Perez moves well, throws flurries of punches and has both hand-speed and power as evidenced by the fact that he dropped former AJ “Bazooka” Banal conqueror Rafael Concepcion twice in the second round in their March 27, 2008 clash in Panama although Concepcion came back to win by a 3rd round TKO.