Ryoichi Taguchi and Milan Melindo are set for a 108-pound unification on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo.
Taguchi (26-2-2, 12 KO) has held his belt since 2014, when he beat Alberto Rossel on New Year’s Eve in the same building, Ota-City Gymnasium. He’s fought all of his fights there since, all of them title defenses.
During that run, Taguchi has beaten Kwanthai Sithmorseng, Luis de la Rosa, Ryo Miyazaki, and Robert Barrera, and went to a draw last New Year’s Eve with Carlos Canizales.
Melindo (37-2, 13 KO) is a Filipino fighter who was a flyweight contender before moving down in weight in 2014. He unsuccessfully challenged Javier Mendoza for the IBF belt in 2015, and won the interim title against Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr in November 2016.
In May of this year, Melindo gained full title recognition by defeating Akira Yaegashi in Japan, and defended in Cebu City, Philippines, in September, defeating Hekkie Budler by split decision.
The IBF 105-pound title will also be on the line on this card, as Hiroto Kyoguchi (8-0, 6 KO) will defend against Carlos Buitagro (30-2-1, 17 KO) in another nice matchup.