Jerusalem ends PHL’s world title drought in boxing, wins WBC minimumweight belt in Japan

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | March 31,2024 - 07:57 PM

Melvin Jerusalem

Melvin Jerusalem wearing the WBC belt on his shoulders. | Photo from Sanman Boxing

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Finally, the Philippines ended its world title drought in boxing after Melvin “Gringo” Jerusalem dethroned Yudai Shigeoka via split decision to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) world minimumweight title on Sunday, March 31, in Nagoya, Japan.

Jerusalem flexed his winning might against the heavily favored Japanese world champion after knocking down the latter twice in their 12-rounder back-and-forth battle. 

This is the second time Jerusalem has become a world champion. In 2023, Jerusalem also ended the Philippines’ world title drought after he knocked out Japanese Masataka Taniguchi via a second-round TKO to win the WBO world minimumweight strap.

READ: Amparo falls short vs. Shigeoka in last minute world title bout

He eventually lost the world title to Puerto Rican Oscar Collazo in May 2023 in his first title defense held on the latter’s turf in Puerto Rico. 

This time, Jerusalem got the nod of the two judges, Jae Bong Kim and Barry Lindenman, who identically scored the bout 114-112, while one judge, Malcom Bulner, ironically saw Shigeoka winning it at 114-113.

Counter right straight

The 30-year-old Cebu-based Jerusalem knocked down Shigeoka twice. 

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

He decked Shigeoka first in the third round with a counter right straight. 

In the sixth round, Jerusalem landed another right straight that downed the Japanese champion.

The win on Sunday improved Jerusalem’s record to 22 wins with 12 knockouts and three losses. He inflicted Shigeoka’s first loss in nine fights with five knockouts. 

Jerusalem is the first Filipino world champion since Marlon Tapales lost his IBF and WBA world super bantamweight titles against Japanese boxing superstar Naoya Inoue in Tokyo, last December.

READ: Jerusalem, Amparo make weight for Japan world title bouts

Toe-to-toe battles

Despite being defeated on his turf, Shigeoka showed his championship caliber after forcing Jerusalem into numerous toe-to-toe battles.

However, Jerusalem made sure to land the telling blows in each toe-to-toe battle. 

Also, Jerusalem landed the more significant punches, especially his right straights that caused Shigeoka’s nose to profusely bleed in the middle rounds. 

In the last three rounds, Shigeoka picked up his pace by throwing more combinations, but Jerusalem made sure to answer every punch the former threw at him. 

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TAGS: boxing, Japan, Melvin Jerusalem, WBC

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