Jerusalem willing to face Taduran

ONE-time world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem is willing to do anything just to get another shot at a world title, even if it means fighting a fellow Filipino.

“I’m okay with that. It will be my chance to become a world champion,” Jerusalem told SunStar Cebu when asked about the possibility of facing International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran.

All-Filipino world championship fights rarely happen but there have been a few world title fights that involved two Pinoys in the past few years.

Donnie Nietes fought Aston Palicte for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight belt in 2018 and IBF super flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas defended his belt against Jonas Sultan in that same year. The 23-year-old Taduran also won his belt by stopping fellow Filipino Samuel Salva in the fourth round in 2019.

“I’ll fight him if he’s willing to fight me. I’m always ready for any fight. I know it doesn’t look good to the Filipino fans when two Filipinos fight against each other for a world title, but if they want to do it then I’ll fight him,” Jerusalem said.

Jerusalem is 15-2 with nine knockouts, while Taduran is 14-2-1 with 11 knockouts.

Jerusalem fought for a world title once and lost a close unanimous decision to unbeaten World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight titleholder Wanheng Manayothin, arguably the best in the division.

Even though he still has no scheduled fight and he hasn’t fought for quite some time, Jerusalem is working hard in improving his craft at the ALA Gym along with his stablemates and Japanese visitor, three-division world champion Kosei Tanaka.

“I learned a lot from training with him (Tanaka), especially with the conditioning training. Even if he gets tired, he still pushes himself to the limit. He’s also very focused,” said Jerusalem. “I really saw how a world champion trains. I’m really motivated because I want to be a world champion like him.”

Jerusalem is highly rated in three of the four major world boxing sanctioning bodies—he is No. 1 in the WBC, No. 4 in the IBF and No. 5 in the WBO. / EKA