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Jerusalem, Amparo shoot for world crowns

Filipino title contenders Melvin Jerusalem (right) and Jake Amparo shoot for world title today in Nagoya, Japan. | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF SANMAN BOXING FB/JAKE AMPARO/IG

Two Filipino title challengers — former world champion Melvin Jerusalem and late replacement Jake Amparo — bid to put an end to the jinx that has struck Philippine boxing tonight in Nagoya, Japan.

Jerusalem locks horns with Yudai Shigeoka for the World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight crown while Amparo collides with Ginjiro Shigeoka for the International Boxing Federation mini-flyweight title in a pair of scheduled 12-rounders at the International Conference Center.

During the official weighin Saturday, Jerusalem stepped on the scales at 104 lbs while Yudai came in at 104.9.

Amparo, meanwhile, checked in at 104.2 while Ginjiro weighed in at 104.7.

While Jerusalem will be answering the bell armed to the teeth, having prepared long and hard for his WBC shot, the same is not true with Amparo, who was called in to replace original opponent ArAr Andales.

Andales had to withdraw last Monday after suddenly falling ill.

The Japanese promoters panicked and fortunately found an able substitute in Amparo, who miraculously got his visa two days later and flew to Nagoya on Thursday.

Amparo is coming off a tough loss to ex-world champion Pedro Taduran last December but remains a solid foe.

But his being a replacement could backfire given the opponent he will be up against.

Ginjiro packs a 10-0-1 (win-loss-no contest) record with eight knockouts, three of them Filipinos.

Amparo sports a 14-5-1 (win-loss-draw) card with three knockouts and while he is not known as a heavy-hitter, he has a terrific skill set, a facet of his game that could help him repulse the hard-hitting Japanese.

Yudai, like his brother Ginjiro, also packs dynamite on both fists.

He has an 8-0 mark with five knockouts and also holds wins over Filipino fighters.

Jerusalem parades a 21-3 ledger with 12 knockouts and briefly held the World Boxing Organization mini-flyweight diadem last year, winning it from Masataka Taniguchi via second-round knockout in Osaka and losing it to Puerto Rican Oscar Collazo at the end of the seventh stanza in California.

Wins by Jerusalem and Amparo would allow the Philippines to join the rank of countries boasting of world champion.

The referee for the Jerusalem-Shigeoka bout is Steve St. Germain of Canada while the judges are Malcolm Bulner of Australia, Jae Bong Kim of Korea and Barry Linderman of the United States.

The odds are stacked against them, though.

Lately, Filipino boxers have been suffering heavy losses in world title fights held on Japanese soil.

A few days before 2024, Marlon Tapales was knocked out by Naoya Inoue for the undisputed world super-bantamweight throne at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo.

And just last February, Jerwin Ancajas was beaten by stoppage by Takuma Inoue at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena also in Tokyo.

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