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OPINION

Wanted: New boxing hero

Melvin Jerusalem quietly slipped out of the country on Tuesday morning from Cebu’s Mactan International Airport without any fanfare.

Joined by his chief hander JC Mananquil of Sanman Promotions of General Santos City, Jerusalem attempts to put an end to the monotony of world title losses of Filipino fighters when he challenges World Boxing Organization minimumweight titleholder Masataka Taniguchi of Japan this Friday at the EDION Arena in Osaka.

Let us all rally behind this bold bid by Jerusalem to beat Taniguchi so he becomes a world champion and set the tone for the other Filipino punchers on line for title cracks in the coming months.
You see, all five Filipino world champions became crown-less in 2022.

Hopes are high that 2023 is going to be a bounce back year for Philippine pro boxing.

Aside from Jerusalem, also waiting in the wings are ex-world champion Nonito Donaire, Marlon Tapales, Jerwin Ancajas and Rene Cuarto as well as leading United States-based contenders Vincent Astrolabio and Jade Bornea.

Not to be counted are John Riel Casimero and Mark Magsayo, also based in Los Angeles, who remain ranked highly.

Jerusalem, though not as popular as the above-mentioned fighters, is a worthy title contender, having fought once but losing in Thailand when the World Boxing Council’s version of the 105-lb throne was on the line.

“He is more than ready for this title opportunity and I am confident he will get the job done,” Mananquil said just before the party hopped inside the Kansai-bound plane.

If Jerusalem scores an upset, he will head home treated like a conquering hero.

More importantly, his win will provide a positive vibe to the coming title shots of the other lined-up challengers.

With Manny Pacquiao now retired and seemingly content with doing just exhibitions, it is time for Jerusalem and the rest to step up to the plate.

The search is on for the next Filipino boxing hero.

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