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LIFE IS THE SWEET SCIENCE: GETTING TO KNOW STRAWWEIGHT CONTENDER MELVIN JERUSALEM


PhilBoxing.com




Stories of the lives of boxers has always been as compelling as it can get, fascinating the minds of every reader. It may be too familiar but it can also be heartwarming as we all know that the sport is unforgiving to those who take it for granted but can be rewarding to those who place their hearts and minds out. A way to help elevate the level of subsistence for the family has been an ax to grind for them. And for most of the time since he has been lacing the gloves on, that thought never left Melvin Jerusalem's mind.

The 22-year old has slowly been establishing himself as a major player in the lightest division in boxing. With only 11 pro bouts to his credit, he has showed enough grit to defeat the likes of former world champion Florante Condes and veteran Fabio Marfa.

A native of Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon, "Gringo" has also been an accomplished amateur, having won medals in national tournaments including bronze in PLDT-ABAP National Championships in Bohol and silver in Philippine National Games in Manila. He learned the basics of the sport through his amateur coach, Ronald Galolo and has represented his native municipality in various national tournaments.

Although three of his siblings are also into the sport including younger sister Sherlyn, who recently won bronze in the just concluded Batang Pinoy National Championships in Tagum City, Jerusalem credits his childhood friend who encouraged him to take up boxing.

"It was my friend back home who introduced me into boxing but my motivation is my family, my father who passed away a year ago and my girlfriend who inspired me to continue and pursue my dream of becoming a champion," stated the soft-spoken and youthful prospect from the ALA gym. A desire fueled by unmitigated passion to support his family, especially his mother whom he stated has been working day and night in a pineapple plantation in his hometown in an effort to make ends meet for the family.

"I have sacrificed a lot for this, I stopped going to school in order to concentrate in boxing because I know that if I will do my best I can be a champion someday. I'ved worked hard with my coaches, Michael (Domingo) and Edito (Villamor)," added the third child in a brood of six. That opportunity may just be around the corner because on the 25th of this month, his biggest break will unfold. An opportunity to vie for the WBC strawweight title against unbeaten Thai champion Chayapon Moonsri aka Wanheng Menayothin. This is the same title who has evaded ALA gym head trainer Edito Villamor more than a score of years ago against the "GOAT" in the 105-pound class, Ricardo "Finito" Lopez.

This will be considered an uphill battle for Jerusalem, who started boxing at the age of 13, as the Thai champion has defeated 20 Filipinos and been rated as the number one strawweight/ miniflyweight/ minimumwieght by the bible of boxing, The Ring Magazine. The reward of such bold step, which many will agree: a big leap will move you much farther, will be astonishing and make his childhood dream a reality.

The author is planning to make this a series dedicated to young and aspiring boxers before the limelight shines brighter on them. They have the potential to make it big in the world stage. It will cover the lives in and outside the ring of our future champions and the events that molded them into who they are in the present- something that can also help make a difference to those who aspire to be like them in the future.

Photo: Melvin Jerusalem (center), trainer Michael Domingo and lady dentist, Riza May Gingoyon


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Felman Gingoyon.


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