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Masataka Taniguchi to defend title against Melvin Jerusalem on Jan. 6

Masataka Taniguchi (left) on the attack against Hizuki Saso in 2020. (Photo by Naoki Fukuda)
Fighters Network

News has reached The Ring that WBO strawweight titleholder Masataka Taniguchi will defend his title against Melvin Jerusalem at the EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan, on January 6.

As previously reported, the undercard will feature Taniguchi’s stablemate Ginjiro Shigeoka challenging Daniel Valladares for the IBF title.

Taniguchi (16-3, 11 knockouts), who is rated No. 3 by The Ring at 105 pounds, has learned on the job while building his resume, dropping close decisions to Reiya Konishi (MD 10) and Koura (MD 12) before also coming up short against then-WBO boss Vic Saludar (UD 12) in 2019.

Since then, the 28-year-old southpaw has piled up one success after another, claiming the Japanese national title before upsetting Wilfredo Mendez via 11th-round stoppage to claim WBO laurels. In his first title defense, he stopped compatriot Kai Ishizawa (TKO 11).

Jerusalem (19-2, 11 KOs) turned professional in 2014. He bested former world champion Florante Condes (MD 8) and experienced campaigner Jonathan Refugio (UD 10) on his way up. The Filipino gave then-WBC titlist Wanheng Menayothin all he could handle, ultimately losing a 12-round unanimous decision but only by a razor-thin margin, with the fight taking place on Menayothin’s home turf.

The 28-year-old surprisingly dropped a decision to Joey Canoy (UD 10) but has rebounded with eight successive wins, which included winning the OPBF title. 


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].