Hard-punching Alvarado will be IBF champ Melindo's no. 1 contender
MANILA, Philippines – Milan Melindo had a tough outing in the first defense of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior flyweight championship, and it won't get any easier from here out.
Felix Alvarado snatched the vacant number one ranking in the IBF with a convincing destruction of Thailand's Teeraphong Utaida on Saturday, October 14, in Managua, Nicaragua. Alvarado (30-2, 26 knockouts) tore through Utaida with aggression and fury, dropping Utaida once in the first round and for the final time in the third round with a right hand that left the defeated fighter prone and motionless for a solid minute.
Utaida had previously lost to Cagayan de Oro City native Melindo in November 2016 by a competitive but unanimous decision for the vacant interim title. Melindo (36-2, took that belt to Japan this past May and cashed it in to win the full championship with a first round stoppage of Akira Yaegashi. In his first defense of the belt in September, Melindo overcame deep cuts over both of his eyes to win a split decision over South African Hekkie Budler.
After that fight, Melindo's promoter Michael Aldeguer confirmed that his next fight would be a mandatory defense.
"Melindo should prepare. My heart beats to become champion," Alvarado told La Prensa.
Alvarado has won 12 straight since his only two defeats, both unanimous decision losses to Kazuto Ioka and Juan Carlos Reveco, who is now the mandatory challenger for Melindo's stablemate and IBF flyweight champ Donnie Nietes, in 2013 and 2014 for the WBA junior flyweight and WBA flyweight titles, respectively.
Alvarado's representative Ricardo Rizzo confirmed that his fighter would be next up for Melindo but didn't know when the mandatory defense would be due. An email requesting comment from the IBF was not returned by the time of this story's publication.
Alvarado's promoter Pablo Osuna of Nica Boxing said: "I don't want to get too ahead of myself or say that we have a date set, but the first step is to meet with [manager William Ramirez]. What Felix did tonight was fantastic, it is a day for celebration."
Aldeguer said he was not aware of the elimination bout between the number 4 ranked Alvarado and number 5 ranked Utaida.
"We are now working on the direction of Milan and we'll see what's out there for him," said Aldeguer.
Nietes-Reveco 'unlikely' for November
Speaking of Nietes and Reveco, Aldeguer said that fight is still in the "negotiation stages" and he "hopes to see a clearer picture before October ends."
Despite sites already penciling in November 25 for the fight, Aldeguer expressed doubt that the fight can be made in November.
"Nothing concrete yet. It's never easy making a mandatory fight happen," said Aldeguer.
Nietes won the vacant title in April with a unanimous decision over Komgrich Nantapech. Reveco also defeated Nantapech by decision in September to earn the mandatory shot. – Rappler.com