WBA light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi recently explained his confidence in being able to beat hard-hitting Filipino Milan Melindo in their upcoming title bout if he executes his fight plan.

Taguchi (26-2-2) has been focused on his seventh title defense since learning he would face Melindo in a unification match on New Year’s Eve at Ota City General Gymnasium.

Melindo (37-2) will be putting his IBF light flyweight title on the line after taking the belt from Akira Yaegashi with a stunning first-round technical knockout in Tokyo in May.

At a session where he showed off his footwork in two rounds of sparring, 31-year-old Taguchi said he could “prove (his) strength again” by beating Melindo, 29, but would need to control the range against his opponent.

“The midrange is dangerous. I want to use my jab to get into the body,” Taguchi said. “If I can move the way I’ve planned, I can win.”

Taguchi had his hopes of an all-Japanese unification match against undefeated 22-year-old Kosei Tanaka dashed after the WBO light flyweight champion fractured both eye sockets in his win over Rangsan Chayanram of Thailand in September.

The Tanaka, who has a 10-0 record, was banned by his gym from sparring for three months, ruling out the possibility of a showdown with Taguchi before the end of the year.

IN OTHER NEWS: Sanman Promotions is staging its inaugural boxing presentation for 2018 on January 21 with the “Brawl at the Mall: The 10th Edition” at the newly-renovated Gaisano Mall Atrium in General Santos City.

This was announced yesterday by Jim Claude Manangquil, Chief Executive Officer of the Sanman Promotions.

The main event will feature the unbeaten Jayson Mama (8-0, 4KOs) of General Santos City against Michael Camelion (10-6-1, 8 KOs) of Malaybalay, Bukidnon for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Youth flyweight title.

“I think Jayson Mama will be the next big thing for the flyweight division in the Philippines,” said Manangquil, a recipient of 2017 Boxing Promoter of the Year award.

Mama is an amateur standout, who won gold medals in national competitions. His last gold medal harvest was in the Manny Pacquiao Mindanao Cup.

The 20-year old Mama said that he is now training hard at the Sanman Gym.

“I want to look impressive. My dream is to fight WBO flyweight champion Sho Kimura in the future,” said Mama, who thanked Sanman Promotions for the opportunity.