By Ronnie Nathanielsz
DUBAI - All three fighters from the famed ALA Gym took Dubai by storm but by far the most impressive was WBO world No. 1 and current WBC Youth Intercontinental flyweight champion Milan Melindo who scored a 4th round TKO over a resilient Thai challenger Komrit Twins Gym in a KO Promotions event staged by Zac Townafai in a classy setting with a number of Filipinos in the crowdcheering for their countrymen.
The fights are scheduled to be telecast by the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN on Sunday over Channel 2 with a replay on Studio 23.
A cracking left hook by Melindo in the first few seconds of the opening round sent Komrit crashing to the canvas. Melindo went for the kill with a flurry of hooks to the body and dropped the Thai challenger for the second time but he managed to survive the round.
The ringside physician checked on Komrit at the end of the round and pronounced him fit to continue.
Melindo doubled up his left hook to the body and the side of the head before cracking Komrit with a beautiful uppercut that dropped the Thai once again in the second round.
International referee Bruce McTavish deducted a point from Komrit for an accidental head-butt that opened a small cut on the left eye of Melindo but that didn't sweem to bother the champion.
Although Komrit showed a big heart and a fighting spirit Melindo was simply too good and after connecting with a series of vicious body shots Melindo stepped back and watched as Komrit crumpled to the canvas and stayed on his knees for some time as McTavish called a halt at 1:23 of the fourth round.
Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista was mobbed by Filipino fight fans as he entered the arena but when the fights were over it was Melindo who grabbed most of the attention for a fine showing.
Melindo continued his unbeaten streak and upped his record to 21-0 with 6 knockouts.
Bautista opened impressively with a left right combination that sent his tough Thai opponent Saichon Sotompitak reeling across the ring and almost through the ropes. However, Saichon fought back gamely and connected with some good shots that occassionally shook Bautista who appeared bothered by a cut on his left eye which he kept wiping with his glove as the fight progressed.
Saichon began to grow in confidence while Bautista took too many punches. Determined to live up to the hopes of his new-found fans here in Dubai, Bautista moving forward aggressively finally caught the game Thailander with a long looping left followed by a hard right that sent him crashing to the canvas with breferee Ver Abainza waving the fight off at 1:59 of the sixth round with the Thai who appeared to have also hurt his leg while going down, in no shape to continue.
With the win Bautista improved to 28-2 with 21 knockouts as he continues on his comeback trail after an absence of one year due to surgery on his left wrist where a rotten bone had to be replaced.
Larry "Bon Jovi" Canillas took some time to find his rhythm against gutsy Tanzanian Fred Sayumi but a big right hand in the sixth round that decked the African fighter for the second time in the fight saw him give up claiming that his swollen eye from the pounding he took made him quit.
Canillas who started off the fight card improved to 10-2 with 9 knockouts.