IBF junior flyweight champion Milan Melindo and WBA champion Ryoichi Taguchi will unify titles on New Year's Eve.
In what is a tradition in Japanese boxing, major world title fights will be held on December 31 and Taguchi will follow that tradition by fighting Budler in the main event of a boxing card at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo. The fight was announced in two simultaneous press conferences held in the Philippines and in Tokyo.
"I have waited for this, and finally it's here," Melindo said at the press conference in the Philippines. "I am confident as always. I love fighting in Japan, and I am excited to face their champion. I recovered and rested well after my battle with Budler. I believed my training will be enough for this one."
Melindo last fought on September 16, defending his title against Hekkie Budler. Melindo won an extremely competitive fight to retain his title, and was ordered to fight Budler again, but no fight had been agreed upon. the unification fight takes precedence over the immediate rematch. Melindo won the title earlier this year when he beat Akira Yaegashi in Melindo's
Taguchi has held the WBA title since 2014 and defended it successfully six times. Taguchi has also not been beaten in the past nine fights, a streak that began in 2013.
Also on the card is IBF minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi defending his title for the first time against Carlos Buitrago. Kyoguchi claimed the IBF world title by unanimous decision against Jose Argumedo on July 23.