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Jerusalem eyes WBC title defense in September

Melvin Jerusalem hopes to defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight belt in front of his home crowd against undefeated Mexican challenger Luis Castillo in September.

Melvin Jerusalem, left, and Manny Pacquiao

As the only Filipino world champion, Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions will be arranging a quality fight card for the first title defense of the 30-year-old two-time world champion anytime in September in a still undetermined venue 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, the eight-division world champion, said. “It’s a great timing that he is holding one of the most prestigious world boxing titles — the WBC.”

Castillo, 26, is a dangerous southpaw sporting 21 wins against one draw with 13 knockouts.

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

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

“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.

Jerusalem, a former World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight champion, has taken home the WBC belt in Tokyo, Japan last March 31 after scoring a split decision victory over Japanese Yudai Shigeoka to put Philippine boxing back into the world boxing 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.”

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.

“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.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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