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25 JUNE 2017

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Melindo Crushes Yaegashi; Inoue Stops Rodriguez in Three


Naoya Inoue victorious
Naoya Inoue victorious

By Derek Bonnett

 

Just one day after a huge triple header featuring Ryota Murata, Ken Shiro, and Daigo Higa in world championship bouts, both Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi put their respective world titles on the line at the very same Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan. Today’s action was brief by comparison, but another shock wave was sent throughout the light flyweight division and one of boxing’s best lived up to his moniker.

 

In the main event, two-division champion Naoya Inoue, 24, defended his super flyweight belt against Ricardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez had gone the distance with David Carmona twice in his career, but the same prospect with Inoue is a far greater challenge. Rodriguez, 27, pressured forward trying to swarm Inoue early with body punches, but the Mexican-American could not mount a serious attack against Inoue’s jab and right hand. Inoue kept Rodriguez on the end of his punches while he searched for his right hand and left hook. However, in round two, it was an uppercut that produced the best work. The end came in round three when Inoue toppled Rodriguez with a left hook. The challenger rose on unsteady legs and was soon decked again with the same type of punch. This time, Rodriguez grimaced on the canvas and failed to rise.

The KO victory came at 1:08 of the third round. "Monster" Inoue added the fifth defense of his title and raised his record to 13-0-0 (11). Rodriguez crashed to 16-4-0 (5).

 

In the main supporting bout, Milan Melindo captured his first world title after blitzing the usually durable Akira Yaegashi in the first round. Melindo dropped the champion first with a right hand set up by the left jab. Yaegashi rose, but a follow-up combination punctuated with a reaching hooker-cut deposited the Japanese tough guy on the canvas again. The third and final knockdown came from a crisp one-two, left-right combo. A bewildered Yaegashi , 34, was kept down on the canvas and separated from his belt. The official time of the stoppage was 2:45 of round one.

 

Melindo, 29, captured his first world title and goes back to Philippines 36-2-0 (13). Melindo’s only two defeats have come in his previous two world title tries. Yaegashi, likely headed for retirement, fell to 25-6-0 (13). Melindo is trained by former world title challenger Edito Ala Villamor.




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