MILAN Melindo kissed the canvas for the first time as he fell short in his bid to dethrone Juan Francisco Estrada Saturday night at Cotai Arena of The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel.
The Mexican decked Melindo with a wicked right near the end of the 11th round but failed to put the Filipino away in the 12th, settling for a unanimous decision to retain the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization flyweight crowns.
Judges Rafael Ramos and Zoltan Enyedi both scored the tactical battle 118-109 while judge Takeshi Shimakawa saw it 117-109, all for Estrada, who was defending the titles he wrested from Fil-Am Brian Viloria on April 6 at the same venue.
Bothered by a cut under the left eye he sustained in the sixth round, Melindo proved an easy target for Estrada’s jabs and right straights starting the ninth round and eventually absorbed his first loss after 29 wins, 12 by knockouts.
The taller and rangier Estrada, who again conserved his strength for the latter rounds in a strategy he also used against Viloria, improved to 25-2 with 18 KOs.
Estrada was the busier fighter starting the eighth when they traded body shots.
Melindo then opted to go toe-to-toe with Estrada and paid the price as the Mexican turned out to be the stronger puncher, staggering him with a right.
Earlier, Genesis Servania and Dave Peñalosa provided joy to hundreds of Filipinos in the crowd with contrasting victories over foreign opponents.
Servania survived a bruising battle with Japanese Konosuke Tomiyama to retain his WBO Asia Pacific super bantam title by split technical decision in the ninth round and improve to 22-0, 8 KOs.
Peñalosa knocked out Thai Ngaotawa Sithsaithong with a left uppercut with 45 seconds left in the third round to climb to 7-0, 5 KOs.
Servania dropped Tomiyama with a left hook in the first round only to go down himself from a straight as he charged. Servania got up but hit the canvass again before the bell sounded.
Servania knocked down Tomiyama again in the third round. A clash of heads eventually left Servania with a cut on the left eyebrow, prompting referee Danrex Tapdasan to halt the 10-round bout with 1:42 to go in the ninth.
Thai judge Sawaeng Thaweekoon saw Tomiyama the winner, 85-84, but he was overturned by judges Salven Lagumbay (86-83) and Takeshi Shimakawa (87-82), who both sided with Servania.
Two-time Olympic light flyweight gold medalist Zou Shiming of China beat Jesus Ortega of Mexico by unanimous decision in the featured bout of the Fists of Gold II. Zou improved to 2-0.