Jerusalem wants to dedicate world title fight to his late father

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Filipino boxer Melvin Oliva Jerusalem wants to dedicate his fight against World Boxing Council (WBC) minimum weight champion Wanheng Menayothin in Phitsanulok, Thailand on January 25, to his late father.

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“This fight is for my Papa. I dedicate this one to him. He was a very supportive father and he didn’t miss any of my fight. He really loved boxing,” Jerusalem, 22, told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Thursday. “I’m hoping God will provide me the strength to achieve victory. I’m really blessed to have an opportunity like this.”

Filipino boxer Melvin Oliva Jerusalem visits the tomb of his late father. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Bukidnon native started as an amateur fighter at the age of 13.

“I’m in good condition so far, my punching power is stronger and I move faster than before. We changed a lot of things in our strategy. Round by round, I believe I can get him,” Jerusalem said.

The unbeaten Jerusalem (11-0 with seven knockouts) and trainer Edito Villamor will be flying to Thailand from Cebu tonight.

“Every boxer has a chance but we are going to be cautious going to this fight. But I’m confident we can get the job done,” said Villamor in a separate interview.”

Jerusalem, who just turned pro two years ago, said he aims to be the aggressor in the fight. “I need to start strong and sustain my attacks. I’m sure I can hurt him. I idolized Japanese WBO minimum weight champion Katsunari Takayama and Manny Pacquiao. They are great boxers.”

Just like Jerusalem, the 31-year-old Menayothin is undefeated in 44 fights with 17 knockouts.

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