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JC’s fears


‘What bothered me was this ugly thought about Filipino boxers becoming easy opponents’


Filipino promoter JC Mananquil felt afraid going into Melvin Jerusalem’s title challenge against Yudai Shigeoka last Sunday in Nagoya.

It was not as if he didn’t have faith and confidence in his fighter.

“What bothered me was this ugly thought about Filipino boxers becoming easy opponents,” Mananquil said when he and Jerusalem graced the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum last Tuesday.

“There was a time when Japan feared Filipino fighters and the Filipino fighters went to Japan oozing with confidence knowing they’ll win.”

But that hasn’t been the case lately as Japanese fighters begin to destroy the notion that they are easy pickings.

Not anymore.

Just look at what happened to several high-profile Filipino fighters who have fought in Japan.

With the exception of Marlon Tapales, who slammed into a super puncher in Naoya Inoue, Filipino boxers have found it extra difficult to leave Japan wearing a smile.

“That concerned me because had Melvin lost, everyone in boxing would think the Philippines is on a downward spiral,” Mananquil said.

“I think I won’t be able to stand seeing Filipino boxers being compared to the Thais who travel outside Thailand and serve as sacrificial lambs.”

Interestingly, in the co-main event, Yudai’s brother Ginjiro flashed his fangs by knocking out Filipino late substitute Jake Amparo with a body shot in the second round if his clash for the International Boxing Federation crown, igniting fears again that Jerusalem would suffer the same fate.

Good thing that Jerusalem was focused and determined to emerge victorious against a fast-rising unbeaten champion who was the clear favorite going into the 12-rounder.

“I also thought about the Philippines not having a world champion and that was a big motivation,” the new World Boxing Council minimumweight titleholder said.

Jerusalem relied on two knockdowns to dethrone Shigeoka.

If there had been no knockdowns, Shigeoka would have escaped kept the title.

“It was a good thing that Melvin won because I don’t think I would be able to accept the outside world’s perception that Filipino boxers are weak and inferior,” the multi-awarded Mananquil said.

Raise a glass for JC and Melvin.


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