Philippines star Milan Melindo will be making his first defense of his IBF junior flyweight title later this year.
Melindo will fight Hekkie Budler to unify the IBF and IBO junior flyweight titles on September 16. Melindo said he's ready to knock out the South African champion for the first time in his career. The fight will headline a card at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City, Philippines.
"I feel no pressure for this fight. No matter how many fights he's had, he's never fought anyone like me," Melindo said. "I want to advise him not to put his guard down, because then I might give him the first KO defeat of his career. I already fought some of the best world champions in the world, including Juan Francisco Estrada, so [Budler] is no threat to me. I have a lot of confidence because God is with me. We're gonna fight in my territory, where I will run the show, and I promise an impressive win."
It took Melindo three tries to win a world title, but did so on May 21 when he knocked out Akira Yaegashi in the first round. Before that fight, Melindo was the IBF's interim champion. Melindo has been booked to fight on September 16 and already began training, but did not have an opponent until now.
Budler won the IBO title earlier this year after failing to win the WBA strawweight title last year against Byron Rojas.
Melindo vs. Budler will now be the third different boxing card to take place on September 16 to feature a world title fight. The other two cards will be Terry Flanagan defending his WBO lightweight title against Felix Verdejo and the much anticipated mega fight between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez for the unified middleweight world titles.