Going for his third attempt at a world title, Melindo didn’t allow the golden opportunity to slip from his fists as he finished off the Japanese champion on his third fall to the canvass.<
The first knockdown came via a left hook, sending Yaegashi on his pants. He beat the mandatory eight-count.
A few seconds later, Melindo sent Yaegashi to the floor again with a barrage of uppercuts to the jaw. He managed to stand up and beat the count.
Although he looked to have recovered from the fall, Yaegashi would not be saved from the third fall.
Melindo, relentlessly sustained his attack and caught the Japanese again with one-two, left-straight combination to finally stop Yaegashi, just 15 seconds before the end of the first round.
Melindo (36 wins, with 3 KOs and 2 losses) earned the right to fight Yaegashi for the title after beating Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. for the interim IBF belt. The 29-year-old Melindo failed in his first attempt at world title.
He is now one of the four Filipino world boxing champions, the three being WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, IBF junior bantamweight Jerwin Ancajas and stablemate Donnie Nietes (IBF flyweight).(R. Caluag, MS)