Melvin Jerusalem vows to end PHL’s world title drought in boxing 

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | March 23,2024 - 07:36 PM

Melvin Jerusalem

Melvin Jerusalem with his trainer Michael Domingo at the ZIP Sanman Boxing Gym in Banawa. | Contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Before Filipino boxers lost devastatingly in Japan, there was one who stood out and went on to become a world champion.

He’s no other than Melvin “Gringo” Jerusalem, who wrested the World Boxing Organization (WBO) world minimumweight title in the hands of erstwhile champion Masataka Taniguchi.

Jerusalem did it in a stunning fashion after knocking out Taniguchi in the second round of their fight on Taniguchi’s turf in Osaka, Japan. 

READ: Jerusalem gets another world title shot, challenges Shigeoka for WBC minimum weight belt

Although Jerusalem’s reign as a world champion was cut short after losing to Oscar Collazo in Puerto Rico five months after winning the title, he’s back for another shot on March 29. 

This time, Jerusalem, who is based in Cebu with ZIP Sanman Boxing Team, vowed to reclaim his glory inside the ring. 

World title drought

The 30-year-old Jerusalem of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, vowed to end the Philippines’ long drought in winning world titles. 

He will face the unbeaten and defending World Boxing Council (WBC) world minimumweight king, Yudai Shigeoka, in Nagoya, Japan. 

READ: More Filipino boxers gunning for world title in 2024

“Mas nadasig ko kaysa na pressure ani nga fight kay gusto nako ako ang Pinoy nga makakuha ug balik ug world title,” Jerusalem told CDN Digital.

“Dako kaayo ko ug pasalamat nga natagaan dayon ko ug chance makabalik ug fight ug world title, sa Nagoya pa gyud nga daghan kaayo ug Filipino nga supporters ug mga hapon pud nga mo suporta nako. Ako gyud ni kayanon tanan kay gitagaan ta ug chance, WBC pa gyud,” he added. 

Fascinatingly, Jerusalem’s first world title bout was for the same title he will be fighting for on March 29. He fought for the same time in 2017 but fell short after losing to Wanheng Meenayothin in Thailand by decision. 

Last chance

Jerusalem said that he couldn’t wait to trade leathers with Shigeoka. 

READ: Jerusalem eager for another world title shot, enters 2024 on Boxrec’s Top 5 contenders

“Akong nakita sa iyaha nga kumpyansa kaayo siya nga iyaha kong pildihon. Iyahang plano i knockout gyud ko niya. Mao na akong ganahan kay kumpyansa kaayo siya, open ra kaayo siya modula. So, atong paningkamotan kay para nako last chance na ni mahimong world champion,” Jerusalem said. 

“Akong nabantayan sauna, seven years, una ko nakadula ug world championship balik. Daghan boxers wala nahatagan ug opportunity,  dili ni sayangon nako. Kinahanglan naa na world champion ang Pilipinas,” he added. 

Jerusalem has been training in Cebu for months now under the tutelage of his trainer, Michael Domingo. He revealed that he’s already finished with heavy training and is currently managing his weight heading into fight night. 

Over 100 rounds of sparring

He also revealed that he completed more than a hundred rounds of sparring for this fight. 

“Humana mi sa sparring 100 plus rounds, last sparring gahapon. Naka sparring na gyud ko ug dagko, para maanad na ta maka absorb ta ug kusog,” added Jerusalem.

He is expected to fly to Japan this coming week to acclimatize. 

Jerusalem sports a more veteran record of 21 wins with 12 knockouts and three defeats, while Shigeoka is unbeaten in eight fights with five knockouts. 

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TAGS: boxing, Japan, Melvin Jerusalem, WBO

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