Philippine boxing takes a stab at a world boxing crown in the first few days of 2023.
Tabbed to put an end to the string of misfortunes that struck Filipino boxers in 2022 is Melvin Jerusalem, who challenges Masataka Taniguchi of Japan on 6 January at Edion Arena in Osaka.
Fighting out of JC Mananquil’s Sanman Promotions and Zip Boxing of Japan, Jerusalem has a record of 19-2 with 11 knockouts.
Taniguchi, making the second defense of the World Boxing Organization 105-lb title, has a 16-3 record also with 11 knockouts.
But the Japanese seems to be on a hot streak, winning his last four fights within the distance.
Trained by former world contender Michael Domingo, Jerusalem will soon spar with fellow top fighters Mark Vicelles and Christian Araneta, according to Mananquil.
Currently, the Philippines doesn’t have a world champion after Jerwin Ancajas, Nonito Donaire, Mark Cuarto, Mark Magsayo and John Riel Casimero all lost their respective title belts.
Casimero lost on a technicality while the rest surrendered their respective titles on top of the ring.
Ancajas attempted to regain it but he was unable to when he was beaten in the rematch by Argentine nemesis Fernando Martinez last month in the United States.
The spate of bad luck began when Manny Pacquiao was upset by Cuban Yordenis Ugas in August last year in Las Vegas.