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Melvin Jerusalem smashes Masataka Taniguchi for WBO minimumweight title

Ginjiro Shigeoka’s fight with Daniel Valladares ended in a no contest

Melvin Jerusalem became 2023’s first new champ by knocking out Masataka Taniguchi

After a disastrous 2022 that saw five of its champions fall, the Philippines are back on the board thanks to Melvin Jerusalem, who upset Masataka Taniguchi this morning to claim the WBO minimumweight title.

Jerusalem (20-2, 12 KO), who’d won eight straight against marginal competition since suffering consecutive losses to Wanheng Menayothin and Joey Canoy in 2017, struggled early with Taniguchi’s (16-1, 11 KO) well-timed lefts to the head and body. Taniguchi looked to have perfect control of the distance, but after herding Jerusalem to the corner in the second, “Gringo” responded with a right hand down the pipe that landed perfectly.

Taniguchi made it to his feet, but all of his limbs looked like they were trying to go in different directions, earning Jerusalem the TKO win in hostile territory. Some enterprising Pinoy fans have put the whole thing on YouTube for those interested, though I will refrain from linking them so as not to bring the fuzz down on their heads.

Also, as a fun aside, our old buddy Dr. Lou Moret scored the first round for Jerusalem.

The evening’s other title fight was, unfortunately, a letdown. 23-year-old ultra-prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka’s (8-0, 6 KO) first title bout against IBF champ Daniel Valladares (26-3-1, 15 KO) ended via no contest in the third due to a clash of heads. Hopefully they can reschedule it quickly and, fingers crossed, set up a unification between the winner and Jerusalem.

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