Jerusalem’s 1st defense unclear

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Sanman Promotions Melvin Jerusalem (second from right) strikes a pose during the recent awarding of the WBO belt in Cebu City. Joining him are WBO executive Leon Panoncillo (right) and Jerusalem’s Japanese managers Marivic and Masayuki Matsuura.

The camp of newly-crowned World Boxing Organization minimumweight king Melvin Jerusalem will be requesting that the lone Filipino world champion be allowed to make a choice defense before facing a mandatory challenger.

“We’d know in a week or two what’s down the road,” JC Mananquil, Jerusalem’s promoter, told Daily Tribune yesterday.

Apparently, the WBO is positioning a compulsory defense by Jerusalem against a soon-to-be-determined contender.

But Mananquil would love to see Jerusalem, who had won the WBO 105-lb crown, make the first defense a handpicked foe before fulfilling his obligations.

Jerusalem knocked out the heavily-favored Masataka Taniguchi in the second round on 6 January in Osaka, to break the curse that had befallen Philippine boxing dating back to mid-2021.

Mananquil said the WBO is pairing Oscar Collazo of Puerto Rico and Yudel Reyes of Mexico in what is likely a title elimination fight.

The winner will be installed the mandatory to Jerusalem, according to Mananquil, who partners with Japan-based ZIP Boxing in handling the Bukidnon-born fighter.

A few days ago, Jerusalem formally received the WBO belt from the boxing body’s high-ranking official Leon Panoncillo with ZIP Boxing’s husband and wife tandem of Masayuki and Marivic Matsuura in attendance in Cebu City.

Meanwhile, Mananquil revealed that leading world title challengers Marlon Tapales and Jade Bornea have been having a terrific training camp in Las Vegas.

Tapales’s shot at the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight titles of Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev will happen on 8 April.

Bornea’s own title try takes place probably a week from Tapales against Fernando Martinez of Argentina, the two-time conqueror of Jerwin Ancajas.

“Jade’s sharp in training,” Sean Gibbons, who represents Tapales and Bornea, after seeing the two Los Angeles-based punchers work out at the Top Rank Gym.

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