Undefeated Filipino pug Melvin Jerusalem will fight reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) minimum weight champion Wanheng Menayothin of Thailand in a title bout on January 25, in Phitsanuloke, Thailand.
Jerusalem’s trainer Edito Villamor said on Saturday that the fight is a huge opportunity for the young boxer from Bukidnon. Villamor added that negotiation with a Thai promoter started last November but things were only made final last week.
“It is the biggest break for Jerusalem at the start of the year. We are expecting him to do his best in this fight although we warned him how tough a world title fight is,” Villamor told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
“Melvin (Jerusalem) needs a convincing performance each round. And most of all he needs a knockout victory. He needs to impress the judges.”
The 22-year-old Jerusalem (11-0 win-loss record with seven knockouts) was rated No. 9 by the WBC after being unbeaten in his last 11 fights. He turned pro two years ago.
“It’s going to be 50-50 if you’ll ask me about Jerusalem’s chances in this fight, but in boxing, everyone has a chance. Before the year ended, I saw how dedicated Melvin is in his training. He didn’t miss in his training regimen.”
Jerusalem’s 31-year-old opponent is undefeated in 44 fights with 17 knockouts.
“We’re expecting his opponent to bully Jerusalem in the fight but we’re be ready,” said Villamor.
“If other Filipino boxers won a world title outside the country, I guess he can also do it.”
Villamor was pertaining to Marlon Tapales’ impressive win in Thailand last July against Panya Uthok for the World Boxing Organization bantamweight title.
The other inspiring victory, according to Villamor, was that of former International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero’s.
Casimero reclaimed the IBF title from Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng in May in China. Shortly after, he defended the belt against Charlie Edwards in London last September. Casimero’s two victories were both by technical knockout.