It doesn’t look as if newly-crowned Melvin Jerusalem will get the luxury of defending his minimumweight crown against a handpicked rival after the World Boxing Organization ordered his team to begin negotiations for a clash with mandatory challenger Oscar Collazo of Puerto Rico.
“Please be advised that the WBO World Championship Committee is hereby ordering the commencement of negotiations for the subject matter bout,” the boxing body’s Championship Committee chairman Luis Battista-Salas said in a letter addressed to both parties.
Collazo boosted his stock as worthy of a title shot at Jerusalem’s 105-lb belt after crushing Yudel Reyes of Mexico in a title elimination fight held over the weekend at the YouTube Theatre in Inglewood, California.
Jerusalem had won the crown with a one-punch second-round destruction of Masataka Taniguchi of Japan early last month in Osaka.
Jerusalem holds a 20-2 record with 12 knockouts while Collazo packs a 6-0 mark with four knockouts. Collazo has fought one Filipino — Vic Saludar — who lost by decision to the Puerto Rican prospect last year.
Jerusalem is being promoted by Kameda Promotions of Japan while Collazo is represented by the Oscar de la Hoya-owned Golden Boy Promotions in partnership with Miguel Cotto’s own outfit.
Jerusalem is the Philippines’ lone world champion after all five titleholders in 2022 lost their titles.