On July 16th we'll see a new OPBF Minimumweight champion being crowned as Melvin Jerusalem (16-2, 10) clashes with Toto Landero (11-5-2, 2) for the vacant title, in a second bout between the two men who fought back in 2018. Although the bout isn't a huge bout for global boxing, it is a very, very interesting one between two former world title challengers each looking to move towards a second shot at the top.
Of the two men the more well known, and more proven, is Jerusalem. The 27 year old who is now based in Cebu City has been a professional since 2014 and quickly impressed with some displays of real power punching as he raced out to 8-0 (7) within 2 years of his debut. He then got his first gut check, taking on former world champion Florante Condes, and beat the heavy handed Condes by decision. That win put him in the mix for a world title fight and just 11 months later he challenged Wanheng Menayothin, giving the then WBC champion one of his toughest bouts. Sadly after a close decision to Wanheng we then saw Jerusalem lose to tricky compatriot Joey Canoy in July 2017.
Since losing to Wanheng and Canoy we've seen Jerusalem get his career back on track with 5 straight wins, including one over Philip Luise Cuerdo and one over his upcoming opponent Toto Landero.
In the ring Jerusalem is an aggressive fighter, who lets a lot of shots go. He sets a high work rate, has heavy hands and really does bring the fight to his opponent, wearing them down with tenacity and volume. Whilst he is usually ultra aggressive, he is also very flawed, throwing a lot of shots that don't land, and being open to counters. He's also very messy at times, fighting with a mentality of hitting anywhere, and he was actually deducted points in both of his losses. Notable without the point loss against Wanheng he'd have earned a majority draw! His wild and sloppy work is a real flaw and something that he tends to get away with, but can be a problem against his best opponents.
Although Jerusalem is the more well known that doesn't mean Landero is a total unknown himself. In fact the 25 year old has been a professional since 2013, and like Jerusalem he went on a decent unbeaten run to begin his career, going 8-0-2 (2) in his first 10. Whilst the names he beat in that early run aren't amazing he did manage to beat Rolly Sumalpong and scored two wins over Philip Luis Cuerdo. Interestingly his unbeaten run came to an end in 2016, when he lost to Joey Canoy, before bouncing back and scoring an excellent win over Vic Saludar, the best win of his career so far. Sadly in his 6 bouts since beating Saludar we've seen Landero going 2-4, however his losses have come to notable names including Knockout CP Freshmart, Simpiwe Konkco, Jerusalem himself and Tibo Monabesa. Whilst those are, understandable losses, they are still losses that have killed any momentum Landero had on the back of beating Saludar.
In the ring Landero is very much a pure boxer. He's quick on his toes, he throws lots of jabs, looks to fight at range and is relatively busy, though not as busy as Jerusalem. Sadly though everything for him depends on his jab, and it's not a shot with much pop on it. In fact it's very much a pawing jab, a stay away from me shot, rather than anything hurtful or meaningful. Against fighters with poor footwork, or limited work rate his style works, but against most others his lack of power is a real issue, and doesn't impress judges. In fact that's likely why he has been losing in his most notable bouts.
Sadly for Landero we suspect his lack of stopping power, and low work rate, will be an issue again here. Landero is the better boxer, by some margin, but Jerusalem is the better fighter, and we suspect the pressure, aggression and work rate of Jerusalem will be the key here. Landero will stick the jab in Jerusalem's face, and have success early on, but as Jerusalem's engine gets going he will out work and out fight Landero to take either a late stoppage or a clear, decision.
Prediction - UD12 Jerusalem
On a busy November 10th Filipino fight fans get a small, and easily over-looked, treat as former world title challengers clash in an excellent match up at he Minglanilla Sports Complex. The men in question are Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) and Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2), with both men looking to work their way towards a future title fight, after having put up an excellent effort in recent shots in Thailand. Both are young fighters, both are talented and in fact both have a lot in common, yet both are very different fights.
Among the things they have in common is that both, as mentioned, lost in a world title fight in Thailand, with Jerusalem coming up short against Wanheng Menayothin in 2017 and Landero losing to Knockout CP Freshmart earlier this year. Both lost their world title bouts by close decision, both would lose in their bout following their world title shot, both have, strangely, lost to domestic rival Joey Canoy and both have 15 fights so far.
At 23 years old Landero is the younger man, by 20 months, yet made his debut first. Landero's debut came just a few weeks after his 18th birthday and he would have a solid start to his career, going 8-0-2 (2) through his first 10 bouts. Whilst he did have two draws on his record he avenged both of them, beating both Rolly Sumalpong and Philip Luis Cuerdo in rematches. His first loss would come to the aforementioned Canoy in 2016, when he was stopped in 6 rounds, but he bounced back with a career best win over Vic Saludar to take a huge step towards a world title bout. After a simple domestic win in late 2017 he travelled to Thailand and lost to Knockout CP Freshmart, in a bout that was more competitive than the scorecards would suggest. Since then he has fought once, losing a competitive contest to Simphiwe Khonco in South Africa.
Jerusalem would make his debut in the summer of 2014, as a 20 year old, and like Landero would reach double figures without a loss, going to 11-0 (7) with a hugely notable win over Florante Condes along the way. He would challenge Wanheng Menayothin in early 2017 and put up a fantastic effort, and had the bout not been in Thailand there is a good chance he'd have gotten the win over the WBC Minimumweight champion. Against Wanheng we saw Jerusalem fight at an incredible pace for 12 rounds, and really make the most of his opportunity, though a point deduction in round 8 for low blows ultimately cost him a draw. His comeback bout would see him losing a decision to Joey Canoy, before returning with two wins, including an 8th round TKO win over Landero's former foe Philip Luis Cuerdo this past June. Through the early part of his career he was a touted puncher, stringing together 7 straight stoppages, but he now seems to have developed into more of a boxer-puncher.
With plenty in common the two men have glaring differences in their styles. Landero is the more calculated, smart and intelligent fighter, who uses his jab to control distance and sets things off from his jab. He's the less heavy handed of the two but the more technically correct and the fighter who performs better off the back foot. Jerusalem on the other hand comes forward, throws heavier shots, and despite being wider with his punches they do have more hurtful intentions on them. Jerusalem seems to be the man who be the more aggressive, whilst Landero will be the one picking his shorts smartly. Both are skilled, but their styles are very different.
In a fight where we see one man coming forward we tend to see them getting the nod from the judges, and we expect that will be the case again here. Landero will certainly have moments, but we think the aggression and work rate of Jerusalem will be his key to taking home the win. We predict this will be competitive, but the cards will make it look like a clear win for Jerusalem.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.