Wednesday, October 04, 2023  |


Oscar Collazo stops Melvin Jerusalem after 7 rounds, wins WBO strawweight title

Oscar Collazo takes it to Melvin Jerusalem. Photo by Jhay Oh Otamias
Fighters Network

INDIO, Calif. – Oscar Collazo won a world title and made history Saturday night.

Collazo broke down Melvin Jerusalem of the Philippines, forcing Jerusalem to remain on his stool after the seventh round to win the WBO world strawweight title. 

The southpaw Collazo (now 7-0, 5 knockouts) became the fastest fighter from Puerto Rico to win a world title belt. Ironically, Alex Sanchez won the same world title belt in his 11th pro fight.

After a feeling-out opening round, both fighters began letting their hands go with more frequency. The southpaw Collazo would mix his attack, throwing and landing lead or counter left crosses to Jerusalem’s head. Undaunted, Jerusalem attacked the body of Collazo, throwing winging right crosses that landed to the stomach of Collazo.

Collazo began to initiate exchanges in the fifth round and the tactic paid off. Midway through the round, a straight left to the head seremed to stun Jerusalem. Collazo followed up, throwing and landing a variety of punches and exchanges to the head and body of Jerusalem.

Collazo continued to back Jerusalem up during the sixth round. A series of hooks and crosses stunned Jerusalem again, this time late in the round as Collazo had Jerusalem up against the ropes. A sweeping left cross momentarily staggered Jerusalem early in the seventh round. To his credit, Jerusalem fought back in spurts, but boxed cautiously from distance. Collazo continued letting his hands go with more aggression, putting Jerusalem on the defensive. 

After the seventh round, Jerusalem’s corner told referee Ray Corona to stop the fight. 

“The game plan was to attack the body,” said Collazo after the fight. “By the fourth and fifth rounds, I could tell he was breathing harder and was slowing down. I just kept chopping the tree. Chop the tree. My corner helped me stay calm and stick to the game plan.”

Collazo stated in the post-fight interview that he would make the first defense of the WBO title in August. 

Saturday’s clash between Jerusalem and Collazo was an intriguing bout featuring fighters ranked in the top 10 by The Ring at 105 pounds. Entering the fight, Jerusalem and Collazo were ranked No. 3 and 10, respectively.

Collazo last fought on January 28, dropping Mexico’s Yudel Reyes twice en route to a knockout win in round 5. In his previous fight on July 16, Collazo was able to recover from a knockdown to defeat Vic Saludar of the Philippines by unanimous decision. 

Jerusalem (now 20-3, 12 KOs) won the WBO world title belt in his previous bout on January 6, stopping Japan’s Masataka Taniguchi in the second round.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]