Quijano: New world champion for 2023

Quijano: New world champion for 2023

And just like that, Philippine boxing is off to an auspicious start for 2023 as we welcome a new world champion in Melvin Jerusalem.

At the Edion Arena in Osaka Japan, this young man hailing from Bukidnon made short work of defending champion Masataka Taniguchi (16-4, 11KOs) as he demolished the local favorite in just 2 short rounds to become the WBO mini-flyweight champion.

THE FIGHT. When the bell rang, both fighters met in the center of the ring with Taniguchi favoring a southpaw stance while the Pinoy fights orthodox.

Taniguchi exhibited faster hands in the first and landed a good straight left, two minutes into the fight. Jerusalem landed some jabs but couldn’t seem to find a home for his right hooks. The Japanese fighter clearly won that round.

At the start of the second, both fighters exchanged jabs in the middle of the ring for the first minute, when suddenly Jerusalem found a small opening for a beautiful straight right hand down the pipe.

The torque of the blow brought down Taniguchi who unwisely- immediately attempted to get up, wanting to impress upon the all asunder that he was alright.

Unfortunately, he was not and he fell face first on the canvas. He then stood up, facing the ref, his glassy eyes pleading his case.

The ref seemed unconvinced and true enough just a second later, he fell backwards again (shades of Zab Judah after being concussed by Kostya Tzsyu), causing the ref to call for the immediate denouement of the fight.

GRINGO. Melvin has come a long way since I saw him at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino back in 2016 when he defeated former world champion Florante Condes.

His only blemishes on his record were losses to Joey Canoy (via decision) and to Thai fighter Wanheng Menayothin when he challenged for the WBC diadem (also via decision in 2017)

It’s too soon to predict a long reign for Melvin but what I like about his game is that he doesn’t leave himself open for counters, and has decent power in both hands. He’s no spring chicken at 28 years of age, so he is now entering his prime as a fighter.

For now, let’s just sit back and enjoy his win. God knows, Philippine boxing really needed that.

MILAN. See you guys at the Cebu City Sports Center on Jan. 11 as we welcome back Milan Melindo (38-5, 14 KOs) to the limelight as he faces off against Chaiwat Buatkrathok for the OPBF Silver featherweight title.

Prime Stags Sports, a new player in the boxing scene is putting all its weight behind this fight as time it ticking for “El Methodico” and they see the OPBF route as the fastest in terms of getting Melindo a title fight.

LAST ROUND. It’s on a dear friend, Blanche Regual Braun, who recently celebrated her birthday.


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