Japan eyes Jerusalem revenge

Japan is said to be determined to take back Melvin Jerusalem’s WBO minimumweight title belt. Photo courtesy of Boxing Mobile

While newly-crowned World Boxing Organization minimumweight king Melvin Jerusalem is on vacation mode, there is already an offer that has been sent for the country’s newest ring hero to return to Japan and defend the crown.

“I was told that there is an offer for Melvin to defend in Japan but nothing’s been decided, yet,” Michael Domingo, the WBO 105-lb titleholder’s chief trainer said on Monday.

In the meantime, Jerusalem is back in his home base in Cebu, spending some quality time with his buddies, recalling that cold and wintry night late last week at the EION Arena in Osaka when he knocked out defending champion Masataka Taniguchi with one punch.

“He will be back in the gym after two weeks and that’s our rule in training,” Domingo, a former world title challenger who had vast experience fighting overseas during his career that ran from 1999 to 2012.

JC Mananquil, whose Sanman Promotions is closely working with Jerusalem’s manager Noboyuki Matsuura, is giving the fighter a chance to enjoy his rousing win before setting the stage for their next move.

Jerusalem’s savage second-round knockout win was a fitting start to the new year.

“Primera gran sorpresa del 2023 (The first big surprise of 2023),” wrote veteran boxing scribe and commentator Salvador Rodriguez of ESPN Deportes on his social media page.

Taniguchi was making the second defense of the title and was heavily favored to repulse Jerusalem’s challenge.

But the underdog refused to be intimidated and denied the golden chance.

After sizing up Taniguchi in the first round, Jerusalem followed Domingo’s instructions to the letter and exploded with the simple combo—left jab and right straight— that sent the champion down.

Puerto Rican referee Roberto Ramirez picked up the count and assessed the situation as Taniguchi hit the floor again after hurriedly attempting to get up.

This time, the third man on the ring had no choice but to call a halt at the 1:04 mark of the round, sending Jerusalem and his corner into a frenzy.

The latest conquest made Jerusalem the Philippines’ 46th world boxing champion.

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