By Dennis Principe at ringside
Photos: Chris Farina Top Rank
World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico successfully defended his belts when he decisioned Filipino mandatory challenger Milan Melindo Saturday night at the Cotai Arena inside the Venetian Hotel in Macau. Melindo, making his first crack at a world crown had a good start when he tagged Estrada with a solid left counter towards the end of the opening round. Estrada came back strong the next two rounds after making the needed adjustments by moving around the ring and throwing some jabs to set up his right hand. It was nip and tuck the next few rounds but a couple of decent right straights opened up a cut on Melindo’s left eye that bled all throughout the match. Melindo tried to force Estrada to a brawl that seemed to be the only chance for the Filipino to connect. However the Mexican was clever enough to move out of harm’s way by throwing jabs. A perfectly-timed counter right by Estrada in round eleven floored Melindo but the Filipino gamely stood up at the count of eight. Estrada, sensing that Melindo was starting to fade, tried to go for the kill but the brave Filipino withstood the Mexican’s pressure by fighting back and tried to clinch a few times to survive the bout. Official scores were 118-109, 118-109 and 117-109 all for Estrada. Fightnews had a close score of 115-112 for the Mexican world champion. With the win Estrada improves his record to 25-2 with 18 stoppages while Melindo drops to 29-1 with 12 knockouts.
In the main event, Chinese sensation Zou Shiming scored his second professional fight in convincing fashion by decisioning Mexican Jesus Ortega in a 6-round battle. Shiming, a three-time world amateur champion and two-time Olympic gold winner finally showed improvement by doing away with his amateur habits. From the get go Shiming swarmed Ortega though the Chinese star got caught with some good right straights from the Mexican. All three judges scored an identical 59-55 tally for Shiming. Overall, Shiming was able to prove he can do major adjustments in a short span of time. Shiming’s pro debut was last April when he defeated another Mexican Eleazar Valenzuela. His win over Valenzuela was not totally welcomed by famed trainer Freddie Roach who felt that his Chinese ward became too eager and felt a little bit pressured fighting in his hometown.
Meantime IBF featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich of Russia validated his reign by dominating mandatory challenger Mauricio Javier Munoz of Argentina for 12-rounds. Making the first defense of the crown he won from Billy Dib of Australia last March in Connecticut won by a mile on all three scorecards, 120-108 and 119-109 on the two other scorecards.
Heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz, Jr. (21-0, 15 KOs) made short work of previously unbeaten Joe Hanks (21-1, 14 KOs) via fourth round TKO at 1:41. Ruiz was aggressive from the outset and finally floored Hanks twice in round four.
Unbeaten super flyweight Rex Tso (7-0, 4 KOs) won an all-action six round majority decision over Rusalee Samor (20-5-2, 9 KOs). Tso from nearby Hong Kong won by scores of 58-56, 59-55, 57-57.
In a knockdown-filled war, unbeaten super bantamweight Genesis Servania (22-0, 8 KOs) scored a nine round technical split decision over Konosuke Tomiyama (23-6-1, 8 KOs). Servania dropped Tomiyama in round one, but Tomiyama came back to floor Servania twice in the same round! Servania knocked down Tomiyama again at the end of round three. The bout was eventually stopped in round nine due to a cut suffered by Servania from an unintentional headbutt. Scores were 87-82, 86-83 Servania, 85-84 Tomiyama.
Unbeaten super bantamweight Dave Penalosa (7-0, 5 KOs) scored a third round KO over Ngaotawa Sithsaithong (10-11-1, 5 KOs). Penalosa showed good power in dispatching Sithsaithong. Time was :45. Penalosa is the son of Dodie Boy Penalosa, Philippines’ first ever two-division world champion.