Jerusalem plots invasion

No, I don’t feel any pressure at all

Filipino challenger Melvin Jerusalem and his team—made up chief handler JC Mananquil (left) and Ramon Falgui—touch down at Kansai Airport on Tuesday afternoon from Cebu. Jerusalem meets Japanese Masataka Taniguchi on Friday in Osaka. Photo courtesy of Sanman Promotions

Melvin Jerusalem set foot on Japanese soil on Tuesday afternoon not feeling the pressure of being the first Filipino boxer tasked to win a world crown in 2023.

“No, I don’t feel any pressure at all,” Jerusalem told Daily Tribune moments after clearing immigration at Kansai Airport.

In fact, Jerusalem, who battles Japanese defending champion Masataka Taniguchi for the World Boxing Organization minimumweight title on Friday at the EDION Arena in Osaka, is not feeling any jitters.

He is actually “very excited” to fight for the WBO 105-lb diadem and bring it home this weekend.

Accompanied by his chief handler JC Mananquil, the challenger was fetched at the airport by his lead trainer, ex-world contender Michael Domingo.

“Everything’s okay. Melvin’s weight is in check and he is ready,” Mananquil said.

Jerusalem swears he is more prepared compared to the last time he fought for a world title in Thailand in 2017.
“I have gotten more experience now and wiser,” he said.

To rev up for Taniguchi, a southpaw, Jerusalem spent a long time training General Santos City and in Cebu.

“Four months,” Jerusalem said, when asked how long he trained for his second shot at the title.

“My sparring was also solid,” he added.

Jerusalem’s quest will kick off a long line of aspirants in the coming months.

Other Filipino boxers sure of challenging for the world titles in the first six months of the new year include ex-champs Nonito Donaire, Marlon Tapales, Rene Cuarto, Jerwin Ancajas and Mark Magsayo and leading contenders Vincent Astrolabio and Jade Bornea.

The clash with Jerusalem will be Taniguchi’s second defense of the title and his eighth time facing a Filipino.

If victorious, Jerusalem will become the Philippines’ 46th world champion and the tenth titlist at 105lbs.

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