Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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Jerusalem at Peak in Training; Zip/Sanman Boxing Gym in Cebu Opens (Photos)

Cebu City -- WBO minimumweight champion Melvin 'Gringo' Jerusalem is now sparring 10 rounds and will go 12-round sparring next week before winding down as he prepares to leave for the United States in two weeks ahead of his first title defense against Oscar Collazo of Puerto Rico scheduled on May 27 in Los Angeles, California.

Jerusalem, his coach Michael Domingo and Jerusalem's stablemates were on hand during the formal opening today of the ZIP/Sanman Boxing Gym in Banawa, this city, a collaboration between Jerusalem's managers Japanese Noboyuki Matsuura and Filipina wife Marivic and promoter JC Manangquil.

Jerusalem (20-2-0, 12KOs) won the WBO belt by knocking out Masataka Taniguchi in the second round on Jan. 6, 2023 in Osaka, Japan. Collazo (6-0-0, 4KOs) who fights under the Miguel Cotto Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions banners, defeated Yudel Reyes last Jan. 8, 2023 to become Jerusalem's mandatory challenger. Cotto/Golden Boy won the purse bid to stage the fight in Los Angeles on May 27 with a prize money of $152,000 with 75% ($114,000) going to the champion and 25% ($38,000) going to the challenger.

Melvin Jerusalem (L) and trainer Michael Domingo pose at the newly opened Zip/Sanman Gym in Cebu. Jerusalem's winning photos in Japan's adorned the Gym.

"Jerusalem's training is going well," Domingo told PhilBoxing. "We have good sparring. And Canoy [Joey Canoy, the OPBF lightfly champion] is our main sparring partner."

"I'm now doing 10-round sparring and next week we'll do 12 rounds," said Jeruralem who was in Japan for a month in his first phase of training before going back to his base in Cebu and whose frame appears to be fight ready.

Jerusalem (R) with his Japanese girlfriend Yorino.

As far as scouting Jerusalem's opponent, Oscar Collazo, Domingo said, "He can box and he can mix it up but he is hitable. Our goal is to hit him with a lot of punches to win the fight."

Jerusalem and Domingo are scheduled to leave for the US in two weeks time for Melvin to acclimatize in Los Angeles. "We will stay either in Las Vegas or Los Angeles for the tailend of our training," Domingo added.

Meanwhile, the Zip/Sanman Boxing Gym was formally opened at the Sundance Residence along E. Duterte St. with Nobuyuki Matsuura and wife Marivic hosting the event with prominent guests that include former world champion Nonito Donaire, Jr and wife Rachel and also former world champion Donnie Nietes.

Donaire and Nietes spoke on the occasion and encouraged the local boxers to continue their quests for glory citing their own examples.

Former multi-division world champion Nonito Donaire Jr speaks words of encouragement to aspiring local boxers.

Former long-time world champion Donnie Nietes in an animated moment with Emcee John Magat.

The gym, which also caters to the public, will be home to the Zip stable of boxers including prospects KJ Cataraja, Esneth Domingo and former world title challenger Jeo Santisima.

Matsuura spoke in his native Nihongo translated into Tagalog by his wife Marivic. Matsuura said that he was managing Kosei Tanaka in Japan and used to get Filipino sparring partners for his ward. "We were impressed by the Filipino fighters and later decided to managed many of them," Matsuura narrated.

Gym owners Noboyuki Matsuura and wife Marivic speak to guests during the Zip/Sanman Gym opening in Cebu on Saturday, April 29, 2023.

L-R: Marivic Matsuura, Donnie Nietes, Melvin Jerusalem, Nonito Donaire, Jr and Noboyuki Matsuura.

By stroke of fate, when the venerable ALA Gym of Cebu closed shop during the height of the pandemic in 2020, many of the ALA boxers were out of base and Matsuura's Zip, in collaboration with Sanman's JC Manaquil, absorbed many them.

Matsuura so far has produced one world champion in Melvin Jerusalem. "Many more to come," Matsuura later quipped to PhilBoxing.

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