TFC News

Melvin Jerusalem trains in U.S. ahead of title defense

Steve Angeles | TFC News Los Angeles

Posted at May 20 2023 09:52 PM

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May 27 in Indio, California will be a big deal for boxing's smallest division. 

WBO mini-flyweight champion Melvin Jerusalem's first world title defense will also be his U.S. debut as part of the Golden Boy DAZN Card in Fantasy Springs Casino.

"I’m just so happy," said Jerusalem in Filipino. "We usually just fight in Asia but we're here in the U.S."

The 105-pound champion is now in the U.S. with Coach Michael Domingo, along with super flyweight KJ Cataraja.

Jerusalem has been getting in his final workouts at Griffith Park and at the famed Wild Card Gym. 

"We’re happy because that’s where our idol Manny Pacquiao trains," he added. "He inspired us and we’re happy we got to go there."

The undefeated Cataraja, who has 16 wins, serves as Jerusalem's training partner in the U.S. despite not having a fight lined up. 

He said being in Los Angeles with the champion has been a motivating experience. 

"This has been encouraging for me, seeing Melvin fight," Cataraja added. "I’m just waiting for my schedule here. Hopefully, I also get a chance."

Despite being in the U.S. for just a few days, Filipinos have taken notice of the champion. They also assured Jerusalem of prayers as they caught a glimpse of him at Griffith Park

Jerusalem hails from Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon Province. He has 20 wins and two losses.

The 29-year-old will defend his title against 26-year-old Puerto Rican Oscar Collazo, who has a 6-0 record to go with a stellar amateur career.