Filipino welterweight “Mighty” Mark Jason Melligen (21-2, 14 KOs) spent weeks training and preparing for former IBA welterweight titlist Freddy Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs) for what could have been the Filipino’s most toughest assignment yet – a ring showdown on July 2nd in a televised bout in the United States. However, Hernandez sustained an injury while training and has to withdraw from the fight.
Hernandez would have been a tough opponent, him being a former world champion and has owned victories over respectable opponents that include ex-world titleholder DeMarcus Corley and exciting brawler Jesus Soto Karass.
That said, the replacement fighter is no piece of cake. Argentinian prizefighter Sebastian Andres Lujan (37-5-2, 23 KOs) is the current WBC Latino middleweight champion and has vied but fell short on his two attempts to capture a world title. In 2005, Lujan was knocked out in the 10th round in his WBO welterweight title clash by Antonio Margarito. The following year, he was outpointed by then undefeated WBO light middleweight champ Sergei Dzinziruk.
Despite Lujan’s impressive resume, Melligen’s co-trainer Edito Villamor believes that his ward will not be affected with the last minute replacement. In a recent correspondence with this writer, Villamor said that while they might have to modify their gameplan, the substitution will not throw Melligen off his focus.
“Mark is ready for fight night. Lujan may be a tough opponent but Mark is in top shape,” Villamor told this writer. “All we need to do now is study what we can on Lujan and make the proper adjustments.”
Asked what he thinks of Lujan’s record, Villamor admitted that Mellligen may be in for a tough night. But he assures that the Pinoy fighter understands that his upcoming fight will be a defining mark for his career.
“This is a huge test for Mark and how he performs will really affect his stock in the boxing world,” Villamor said.