In a gutsy display of courage, IBF No. 6 flyweight contender Milan Melindo stood toe-to-toe against tireless Carlos Tamara of Colombia and pounded out a unanimous 10-round decision before a wildly-cheering crowd at the jam-packed Waterfront Hotel ballroom in Cebu City last Saturday night.

Neither Melindo nor Tamara took a step back throughout the exciting bout. New Zealand referee Bruce McTavish said nearly every round was close and could’ve gone either way but pointed to Melindo’s speed as the deciding factor. The three judges scored it 98-92, 98-92 and 97-93 for Melindo.

Tamara’s trainer Butch Sanchez said it was an uphill climb for the former IBF lightflyweight champion starting the second round when he was rocked by a shot to the side of the neck.

McTavish said Sanchez told him after the fight that Tamara was never the same after the blow to the neck. “The punch probably struck a nerve,” said McTavish. “According to Butch, Tamara was dizzy and groggy the rest of the fight which was incredible because he never backed down.”

There were no excuses from Tamara’s camp. Melindo vowed to dispose of Tamara within five rounds but failed to make good on his promise as the Colombian proved extremely durable.

“”Tamara kept looking to land the right but couldn’t connect consistently,” said McTavish. “It was an entertaining fight. Both fighters gave it their all. I thought Melindo stunned Tamara about four or five times but Tamara was never in trouble of going down. Tamara showed how tough he was in coming back to stop (Brian) Viloria last year when I was the referee.”

McTavish said in the fourth round, Melindo and Tamara engaged in a furious exchange for about 1 1/2 minutes and the crowd went crazy. “Tamara can take a punch, that’s for sure,” added McTavish. “He showed it in the Viloria fight and showed it again in the Melindo fight. Melindo, however, was too quick. No question who won. Melindo earned it.”

Melindo, 22, raised his record to 23-0, with seven KOs, and could be next in line to challenge IBF flyweight titlist Moruti Mthalane of South Africa. ALA Promotions owner Tony Aldeguer said Melindo looks much stronger at 112 pounds than when he fought in the minimumweight or lightflyweight division.

article from Philippine Star

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