Jerusalem plans September defense of WBC title at home

Jerusalem plans September defense of WBC title at home
WBC minimumweight champion Melvin Jerusalem
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines – World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight champion Melvin Jerusalem will put his title on the line in the Philippines against undefeated Mexican Luis Castillo in September.

The Philippines’ only active world champion, promoted by Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, will headline a boxing card either in Manila, Masbate or General Santos City.

“Quality world boxing title will be coming soon to the Philippines, and Melvin Jerusalem, our present world champion, will be a main part of it,” Pacquiao said. “It’s a great timing that he is holding one of the most prestigious world boxing titles — the WBC.”

Melvin Jerusalem with Manny Pacquiao.
MP Promotions

Castillo, 26, is a dangerous southpaw with a record of 21-0-1 (with 13 knockouts). 

Although no exact date and venue have been announced yet, MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons said the timing is right because that’s what they have agreed with the WBC when its president Mauricio Sulaiman visited the country last March. 

“For pride and country this is surely a Filipino thing because every time a Filipino becomes a world champion, he’s really obliged to go to defend their belts at enemy’s territory,” Gibbons said. 

Melvin Jerusalem with MP Promotions chief Sean Gibbons.
MP Promotions

“So Jerusalem is our last remaining hope at the moment. He is our only reigning Filipino world champion, and we need this fight to happen in the Philippines,” he added. 

The 30-year-old Jerusalem, a former World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimum weight champion, wrested the WBC belt in Tokyo, Japan last March 31 after scoring a split-decision victory over Japanese Yudai Shigeoka to put Philippine boxing back on the sport’s map.

“That’s really one of my dreams aside from becoming a world champion: To fight and defend my crown in front of the Filipino crowd here in our country,” Jerusalem (22-3 win-loss record with 12 knockouts) said. “I am really thrilled and excited to hear it.”

For his part, Sanman Promotions chief JC Mananquil, Jerusalem’s handler, has welcomed the opportunity, saying he’s willing to work with the MP Promotions to co-promote the fight under the guidance of Pacquiao and Gibbons. 

Melvin Jerusalem with Sanman boss JC Mananangquil.
MP Promotions

“Sean Gibbons and MP Promotions have provided Filipino boxers a great amount of hope for many years. They built a lot of world champions since then. So we are very grateful to join forces with them again to co-promote Jerusalem’s world title fight here,” Mananquil said.

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