WITH the biggest opportunity of his young budding career at hand, Melvin Jerusalem will give his all in a career-defining fight today against undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin in Thailand.
“I’m ready. I don’t feel any pressure at all,” the 22-year-old Jerusalem told SunStar Cebu. “I will do everything I can to win. I know I need a knockout to win and I will do my best to knock him out. Along with my prayers, God will help me win.”
Jerusalem and Menayothin both tipped the scales at 105 pounds at yesterday’s weigh-in.
Though Jerusalem is confident of his chances, Menayothin has the upper hand in almost all aspects. He has more experience, he is fighting in his own backyard, he is the champion and most of all he is the best 105-pounder in the world.
The 31-year-old Menayothin, who became a world champion a few months after Jerusalem made his pro debut in 2014, has successfully defended his crown five times, which includes wins over The Ring No. 9 ranked minimumweight Saul Juarez, and Filipinos Jeffrey Galero and Jerry Tomongdan.
ALA Gym head trainer Edito Villamor believes that Jerusalem already has Menayothin’s number. “We want to be a step ahead of him all the time and don’t give him a chance to find his rhythm. He is a defensive fighter so we have to watch out for his counter punches.”
The fight will be done outdoors on a hot afternoon but the conditions won’t be a problem for the Bukidnon native.
“I’m used to it (heat) because of our sparring there (in Cebu),” Jerusalem said.
Jerusalem is one of the most promising young fighters at the fabled ALA Gym. In a span of just three years, he has already made his mark as one of the best 105-pound fighters in the Philippines and is the No. 9-ranked boxer in the minimumweight class. He also owns wins over former world champion Florante Condes and world-rated Jonathan Refugio.
Jerusalem is 11-0 with seven knockouts, while Menayothin is 44-0 with 17 knockouts.