Melvin Jerusalem finally reestablished the country’s stance in international boxing after dethroning Japanese fighter Masataka Taniguchi to capture the WBO Minimumweight title Friday night, Jan. 6, at the EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan.
Jerusalem stood his ground against a more explosive Taniguchi, knocking out the Japanese with a straight right hand in the second round to become the lone Filipino boxing champion after a series of heartbreaks last year.
Prior to Jerusalem’s victory, five Filipino champions suffered successive defeats and surrendered their respective belts.
Taniguchi wobbled on his feet following the blow and tried to regain his composure, but Puerto Rican referee Roberto Ramirez immediately halted the fight, as the Japanese was deemed not fit to resume.
“This victory is for the Philippines and for my family,” a tearful Jerusalem said.
“This also goes out to my Zip-Sanman team. Of course, I am thankful to my coach Michael Domingo, who worked hard with me during training camp. I will not stop training hard after this.”
Team Zip-Sanman led by Jim Claude Manangquil, Mhavic Kamiyama and Nobuyuki Matsuira, as well as Domingo climbed to the ring to join Melvin’s celebration.
Jerusalem’s victory improved his record to 20-2 with 11 KOs. Taniguchi, meanwhile, fell to 16-4 (11 KOs).