Melvin “Gringo” Jerusalem (Contributed photo)

DAVAO CITY – Top-ranked Melvin “Gringo” Jerusalem of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon will fight Toto “Muscovado” Landero of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental for the vacant Orient and Pacific Boxing Federation strawweight title in Cebu City on Friday.

Jerusalem has 16 wins and two losses with 10 knockouts and is rated OPBF no. 1 strawweight contender while Landero (11W-5L-2D, 2KOs) is ranked no. 10.

Under Coach Michael Domingo, Jerusalem is currently training at the Villamor Boxing Gym in Mandaue City. It is owned by brothers Edito and Edmund Villamor, formerly from ALA Boxing Gym.

Jerusalem, 27, is also practicing at the EMT Boxing Gym in Mandaue managed by former boxer Edcel Mike Tonacao.

“Kay di pa padulaan ang Gensan, didto unta me (Because playing is still not allowed in Gensan, we would have been there),” he said. “Paabut rami kay Sir JC Manangguil sa final sa venue (Look forward to seeing Sir JC Manangguil at the venue of the finals),” Jerusalem said.

Manangguil, who is the operation manager, is still in the USA because of another fight.

“Ready na kayo ko, dugay kuni gepangandaman (I'm ready for it, I've been preparing for this),” Jerusalem said.

He was impressive in his last fight, knocking out Jayson Francisco of Kidapawan in the second round at the Sanman Gym in General Santos City on Dec. 17, 2020.

Jerusalem got a world title crack in January 2017 but lost to Thai Chayaphon Moonsri via unanimous decision for the World Boxing Council minimumweight title in Thailand.

Dako akung kalipay nga makadula nakog balik ug championship, dili jud ne nako sayangan ang panahon kay mao nane akung gina paabut (I'm very happy to be able to fight in the championship again. I won't waste time because this is what I've been waiting for),” he said. (PNA)