Filipino challenger Melvin Jersusalem won half of the battle when he stepped in at 103 lbs during the official weighin yesterday for his World Boxing Organization minimumweight title shot versus Masataka Taniguchi today at the EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan.
The southpaw Taniguchi, who will be making the second defense of the WBO 105-lb belt, tipped in at 105 lbs.
Sanman Promotions chief JC Mananquil thought Jerusalem weighed in a bit light but it was still a major development.
“At least, he didn’t go over the weight and wasn’t overweight,” Mananquil told Daily Tribune minutes after the pre-fight rites.
Jerusalem looked upbeat after clearing the scales and declared fit and ready for the scheduled 12-rounder that begins at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. in Manila).
This title shot will be the first for a Filipino boxer in 2023 and Jerusalem insists he doesn’t feel any pressure but is nonetheless excited to get another chance to win a world crown.
Taniguchi, 28, is no stranger to Filipino fighters, having won seven of eight matchups with them.
The only Filipino who beat him was Victorio Saludar, who defeated Taniguchi in February 2019 in Tokyo.
Roberto Ramirez of San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been assigned to referee the Taniguchi-Jerusalem showdown while the three judges appointed were Louis Moret of Los Angeles, California, Michael Fitzgerald of Janesville, Wisconsin and Benjamin Rodriguez of Chicago, Illinois.
Japanese Tsuyoshi Yasukochi of Tokyo will be the fight supervisor.