By Carlos Costa
CEBU, Philippines - IBF junior flyweight world champion Milan "El Metodico" Melindo (36-2, 13 KO's) of the Philippines is set to make the first defense of his recently acquired world title against South African reigning IBO world titlist Hekkie "The Hexecutioner" Budler (31-2, 10 KO's) on September 16 in Cebu, Philippines.
Both 29 year-old reigning world champions will trade blows on top of the ring of the Waterfront Hotel & Casino in Cebu, though the battle is only for Melindo's IBF title.
The official announcement was done today (Thursday July 13) by fight promoter Michael Aldeguer, president & CEBO of ALA Boxing Promotions.
In his last fight, Milan Melindo captured the shinning IBF red/gold belt by knocking out then world champion Akira Yaegashi in one round last May at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo.
On his part, Hekkie Buddler, an experienced, durable 2-division world champion, comes from claiming the IBO world crown by defeating Filipino Joey Canoy by stoppage in eight rounds last February in Kempton Park, South Africa.
Milan “El Metodico” Melindo (IBF Light Flyweight champion): "I feel no pressure for this fight. No matter how many fights he’s had, he’s never fought anyone like me. I want advise him not to put his guard down, because then I might give him the first KO defeat of his career. I already fought some of the best world champions in the world, including Juan Francisco Estrada, so he (Budler) is no threat to me. I have a lot of confidence because God is with me. We’re gonna fight in my territory, where I will run the show and I promise an impressive win."
Michael Aldeguer (President/CEO, ALA Promotions): "This will be one of the biggest fights we’re bringing in Cebu. It's going to be an exciting fight for the fans as both fighters are world Champions and have similar records. This is a fight that everyone should watch."
Edito Villamor (Milan Melindo trainer): "We promise this will be one of the best and action-packed fights for the fans who’ll be watching live and those all over the world. We’ve started training as early as three weeks ago and Milan’s always in perfect condition, so it’s all systems go for us. We’re looking forward to welcoming team Budler in September."
Hekkie Budler: "This is great news. Melindo is a very good fighter, probably the best opponent I will have faced. Going on the road doesn't faze me. I'll fight anywhere. I'm sure the Filipinos will watch my fights; they're all over YouTube. But I'll change up a few things and do what I'm best at."
Rodney Berman (Golden Gloves promoter): "Melindo's people obviously believe in their guy, but Hekkie is an unbelievable boxer. This is more than just a major fight; it's an opportunity to cement his legacy as a multiple belt title-holder. It's going to be an excellent match, a real treat for the fans. I'm delighted we could do this deal."
Colin Nathan (Hekkie Budler trainer): "I'm so upbeat about this fight. It was heart breaking to narrowly lose the WBA belt last year; all we wanted was the opportunity to make things right. We put Hekkie's name forward and although he's not the mandatory, we were honoured to get the call. Hekkie is 29. Do we want to risk it all? Yes! We're going to Melindo's home turf, but it's a very winnable fight. The odds are against us, but we're going to win. Hekkie has fought in hostile territory before, but he's mature enough, and good enough, to win. He must bring his A game and it's my job to ensure that happens."