By Dennis Principe
WBO #1 flyweight Milan “El Metodico” Melindo of the Philippines kept his Intercontinental crown via a 7th round TKO over a game but outclassed Mexican Juan “Panterita” Esquer Saturday night at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu. Melindo, 23, peppered Esquer with stiff jabs, uppercuts and punishing 4 to 5-punch combinations, all in precision manner. In round five Esquer got floored with a low blow that saw the Mexican wince in pain and rolled around the ring. Esquer tried to stand up at least six times but fell each time. After a few minutes Esquer continued fighting and survived the round.
In the 7th canto Esquer trapped Melindo in the neutral corner but threw a clear low blow. Referee Danrex Tapdasan came in for a momentary halt but Esquer surprisingly fell down and claimed he was hit by a low blow. Replays through a wide screen inside the venue however showed Esquer not being hit by any punch. Tapdasan waived off the fight after Esquer refused to stand up. Official time was 2:16.
With the win Melindo improves to 26-0 with 10 knockouts while Esquer drops to 27-10-2 with 21 KO’s.
In other bouts of this fight card dubbed “Pinoy Pride XI: Philippines vs. The World”, WBO #5 Lorenzo “Thunderbolt” Villanueva floored Mexican Diego Ledesma twice with thundering left straights en route to a first round stoppage. Villanueva ups his record to 23-0, 22 KO’s.
Super flyweight Mar Jhun Macahilig kayoed Kaichon Sor Vorapin in the second round while OPBF minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo scored a hard-earned 8-round verdict over Sofyan Effendi of Indonesia.
Super featherweight Joseph Von Minoza completed a 5-0 shutout for Team Philippines as he decisioned Yoo Shim Kim of Korea in their own 8-round battle.