Sun.Star Baguio

Jerusalem, Santisima in important fights this weekend


A LOT is at stake for former world title challenger­s Melvin Jerusalem and Jeo Santisima in their respective fights on Dec. 17 at the Sanman Gym in General Santos City.

Their lofty world rankings and a chance to possibly fight for a world championsh­ip are all on the line this weekend in Sanman Promotions’ “bubble” boxing show “Vengeance.”

Jerusalem faces Jayson Francisco in one of the featured fights.

“I won’t take him lightly,” Jerusalem told SunStar Cebu. “He’s tough and taller than me.”

“I have not fought for a long time. But it’s okay, I have already adjusted,” said Jerusalem, who’s been training under the guidance of Michael Domingo.

The 26- year- old Jerusalem last saw action on Aug. 17, 2019, when he stopped Reymark Taday in seven rounds at the Superdome in Ormoc City. Jerusalem is currently rated No. 2 by the World Boxing Council (WBC), No. 4 in the Internatio­nal Boxing Federation (IBF), No. 9 by the World Boxing Organizati­on (WBO) and No. 10 by The Ring Magazine.

“I will wait for my time, and I’ll be ready always,” said Jerusalem. “My options are open as long as it’s for a world championsh­ip. My dream is to become a world champion.”

Francisco went toeto-toe with world-rated Rene Cuarto in his last fight before getting knocked out in the fifth round on Dec. 15, 2019. Jerusalem is 152 with nine knockouts, while Francisco is 5-2 with a knockout.

Santisima, on the other hand, trades leathers with Marjon Piencenave­s.

“He’s skilled. I won’t take any chances. He’s well conditione­d because he was training for another fight,” said Santisima of his opponent.

Santisima feels that he’s become a better fighter right now after an 11th round stop

page defeat to then WBO super bantamweig­ht king Emanuel Navarrete on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas.

“It was a great learning experience for me fighting for a world championsh­ip. It has helped me grow in my career,” he said. “I’m confident I’ll win because a lot is at stake for me. I may fight outside the country, maybe next year because I’m still world rated. I really want to challenge again for a world championsh­ip.”

Piencenave­s is coming off his first career loss after a unanimous defeat against Delmar Pellio on Sept. 21, 2019 in Parañaque City.

Santisima, ranked No. 8 by the WBO, is 193 with 16 knockouts, while Piencenave­s is 61-1 with four knockouts.

The “Vengeance” boxing show is headlined by WBO No. 11 ranked super flyweight KJ Cataraja ( 11- 0, 9 KOs) taking on former world title contender John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5 KOs).

Also in the card, Esneth Domingo (13-1, 7 KOs) locks horns with Gerald Alvarez (4-9-1, 4 KOs) and Regie Mananquil ( 2- 2, 1 KO) up against Rio Gulipatan (1-5-2).

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