IBF orders Milan Melindo-Hekkie Budler rematch over cut complaint
The first meeting between IBF junior flyweight titlist Milan Melindo and Hekkie Budler was an optional defense but the IBF is ordering a second fight after Budler’s team raised complaints about the actions of Melindo’s cornermen during two doctor visits.
Their first fight took place on September 16 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City, Philippines, with Melindo prevailing by a split decision over the South African Budler by the scores 115-112 and 117-110, while the third had Budler winning the bout, 115-113.
In a letter signed by IBF President Daryl J. Peoples and dated October 16, the IBF addressed concerns raised by Budker’s trainer/manager Colin Nathan, invoking Rule 5.K. of the IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contests which allows the IBF to order a rematch at their discretion.
Among the complaints raised by Nathan, the IBF was in agreement, regarding Melindo’s head trainer Edito Villamor, who was allowed by American referee Wes Melton to apply a coagulant during a timeout after the bell rang to begin the 11th and 12th rounds after the ringside doctor concluded his examination of a serious cut above Melindo’s right eye, which had been ruled to be caused by a punch in the 10th.
The IBF cited a rule from the Games and Amusements Board in the Philippines about procedure for a ringside doctor examination, which states, “The referee will call time out immediately after the bell rings to start the next round,” adding in italics, “The referee will then assure that the boxer’s corner does not interfere with the examination…”
“After reviewing Mr. Nathans (sic) concerns that we found relevant and the video tape provided to the IBF, (IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker) and I have determined that by the referee allowing Milan Melindo’s cornermen to administer a coagulant although – at the recommendation of the Ringside Physician – was inappropriate conduct which has affected the outcome of the fight: as well as violated the rules of the GAB as provided to the IBF.”
In the video, Melton, not the doctor, is heard telling Villamor “You can patch it,” referring to the cut, at the conclusion of the doctor’s exam preceding the 12th round. A message requesting comment from Villamor was not returned by the time of this story’s publication.
Michael Aldeguer, president of ALA Promotions and promoter of Melindo, says he was “shocked” by the letter, saying “it was still something to be discussed.”
“We need to appeal the decision, as Milan already won that fight clearly and it was an optional defense and not a mandatory,” Aldeguer adds.
The IBF dismissed two other points of contention raised by Nathan, who claimed that the referee was incorrect in ruling a knockdown for Melindo in the twelfth round, and said the wide 117-110 scorecard turned in by Japanese judge Takeo Harada “was biased toward the Asian Champion.”
The IBF letter ruled that “it appeared that Budler was struck by a punch albeit not a solid one before falling to the canvas.” Regarding the scorecard, the letter says that “the judging of professional boxing events is subjective. Absent any proof of wrong doing, we must rely on the decisions rendered by the Judges.”
The IBF ruling comes just days after Nicaragua’s Felix Alvarado scored a third round knockout of Teeraphong Utaida to become the No. 1 contender to the IBF 108-pound title.
A spokesperson for Peoples confirmed the news to RingTV via email.
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