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Melvin Jerusalem Runs the Gauntlet In Beating the Odds


PhilBoxing.com



Jerusalem drops Shigeoka.

Despite scoring two knockdowns that gave him 10-8 rounds, Melvin Jerusalem faced the risk of having his last fight ruled a split draw had one of the two judges, Korean Jae Bong Kim and Barry Linderman of the USA who both saw it for him turned an even scorecard.

He could even have lost via split decision had one of the two submitted a scorecard in his opponent's favor.

Such is the risk a visiting fighter face.

And the pressure visiting supposed neutral judges had to put up with.

Fortunately, the two neutral judges, Kim and Lindenman held on amidst the partisan Japanese crowd and stuck on to their scorecards, both 114-112 in favor of Melvin that overruled the Australian judge Malcolm Bulner score of 114-113 in favor of his pre-fight favored opponent.

Thus, Melvin as in 2023, became the Philippines first world boxing champion by defeating defending titlist Yudai Shigeoka via split decision and wresting his newly won WBC minimumweight crown in Nagoya, Japan.

The pressure must have been tremendous as earlier Yudai's younger brother, Ginjiro, successfully retained his IBF title by 2nd round knockout of Filipino substitute challenger Jake Amparo. The Shigeoka brothers won their respective crown on the same date and arena last November and both were expected to win in their first title defenses. Hence, the pressure was on Yudai to duplicate his brother's earlier feat.

It was deja vu for Melvin as Japan was also the site of his WBO title crowning feat in January 2023 which he achieved by knocking out Masataka Taniguchi in Osaka.

Yudai had chosen Melvin as opponent in his first defense for the opportunity to avenge the loss of a fellow gym mate in Taniguchi.

If Yudai had any early impression of Melvin, how wrong he was.

Melvin proved to be not only a tough costumer but one who could put him out of his feet as in the second and sixth rounds where Yudai was knocked down by accurate right counters.

Yudai tigerishly fought back and tried to also put Melvin down and out. But this was where Melvin's huge advantage in experience served him well as he frustrated Yudai's desperate attempts while countering effectively.

In the end, the two knockdowns he scored proved to be the big difference though one would be tempted to ask the Australian judge, what fight was he watching.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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