Filipino boxer Melvin Jerusalem won the WBO strawweight title with a knockout after just two rounds against Masataka Taniguchi, making him the Philippines’ lone champ.
The Philippines has always had a hand in international boxing. However, in 2022, a number of Filipino boxers were dethroned, including Mark Magsayo, Rene Mark Cuarto, and John Riel Casimero, among others.
But Melvin Jerusalem put the Philippines back on the map.
In the Filipino boxer’s title fight against reigning champion, Masataka Taniguchi, Jerusalem ended the fight in two rounds.
At the 1:04 mark of the second round, the Filipino landed a straight right onto Taniguchi’s chin, sending him to the mat. The reigning Japanese champion made an attempt to get back up and into the fight, but was unable to, and fell back down.
Following this, the referee called the match, granting Melvin Jerusalem the win and the WBO strawweight title.
In addition, this also marked Jerusalem’s second attempt at a world title, and he was able to dethrone Taniguchi, who held the title for 25 months. He is the lone Filipino boxing champion as of now.
With this, Jerusalem’s record improves to 20-2, with 11 knockouts. On the other hand, Taniguchi’s record falls to 16-4, also with 11 knockouts.
“This victory is for the Philippines and for my family,” the 28-year-old said after he arrived back in the Philippines from Osaka, Japan. “I will not stop training hard after this.”
As he is back home, he will be awaiting the WBO’s decision on whether they will let him take on a mandatory or voluntary defense for his title. But for now, he will be enjoying the fruits of his labor, and the pride in being a Filipino champion.
Banner image from Sanman Boxing on Facebook.