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Melindo lost to a better fighter, admits coach

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Filipino boxer Milan Melindo was gracious in defeat after "El Metodico" relinquished his IBF light-flyweight crown to Japan's Ryoichi Taguchi on New Year's Eve in Tokyo.

Melindo memorably won the IBF belt – his first world title – back in May after a one-round demolition of Japan's Akira Yaegashi in Tokyo. He successfully defended it once, against Hekkie Budler, in September.

WBA light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (R) of Japan fights with IBF light flyweight champion Milan Melindo (L) of Philippines during the tenth round of the WBA and IBF light fly-weight title bout in Tokyo on December 31, 2017. Toru Yamanaka, AFP
In his return to Tokyo, Melindo was unable to duplicate his triumph. He was outpointed by Taguchi in a bloody title-unification bout, with the Japanese getting the nod of all three judges – 116-112, 117-111, 117-111.

While the loss was obviously disappointing, the Melindo camp had no complaints.

"We lost to a better fighter last night," tweeted Edito Villamor, the head coach of ALA Promotions fighters.

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