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Melvin Jerusalem arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 a day after becoming the WBC minimumweight champion. | photograph by Joey Sanchez Mendoza for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_joey

Newly-crowned world boxing champion, Melvin Jerusalem arrived in Manila on Monday afternoon clutching a replica of the World Boxing Council  (WBC) strap that he had won less than 24 hours earlier on enemy territory.

A throng of mediamen were on hand to welcome Jerusalem, who became the country’s only reigning world titleholder after upsetting Japanese defending minumumweight champion Yudai Shigeoka in Nagoya.

Joined by his promoter JC Mananquil and lead trainer Michael Domingo, Jerusalem swore he won’t hand the belt on a silver platter.

“The WBC belt is the most beautiful among the four belts because it has all the flags of the nations of the world represented here,” Jerusalem said as his fingers touched the crafty design adorned with different flags.

“I will do my best to keep this title for a long time,” he added.

Apparently, the WBC belt that Jerusalem carried is not his.

“We borrowed it from another former WBC champion,” JC Mananquil, who promotes Jerusalem, told DAILY TRIBUNE.

The Mexico-based WBC will mail Jerusalem’s own belt soon as it is standard practice among challengers who wind up dethroning the defending champions that they wait for the WBC’s shipment following their victories.

But Jerusalem appeared as if the one he is holding is his as he held onto it like his life depended on it.

Jerusalem, 30, knows how it feels how to lose a title.

Last year, Jerusalem knocked out Masataka Taniguchi in the second round to claim the World Boxing Organization mini-flyweight crown in early-January in Osaka.

It turned out to be a whirlwind reign.

Four months later, a jet-lagged Jerusalem was crown-less after being beaten by Puerto Rican Oscar Collazo in California, his first outing in the United States.

Now that he is on top again, Jerusalem vows to reign longer although the Japanese promoters have two options, meaning Jerusalem is mandated to make two title defenses before being given the luxury of having his way.

But that’s another story as Mananquil and Jerusalem are raring to savor the moment.

“Let us celebrate first before thinking about what’s down the road,” Mananquil said.

Give the guys a break. They truly deserve it.

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