By Derek Bonnett
In what was expected to be a match-up of man versus boy, WBC minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin had his hands full with his twenty-two year old challenger Melvin "El Gringo" Jerusalem in Phitsanulok, Thailand. While Menayothin retained his title unanimously, it took an eighth round point deduction for a low blow to save the champion from a draw.
The challenger got off to a good start, taking the first two rounds against the far more seasoned champion. Menayothin pressured his way back into the contest and evened the contest 2-2 on all three judges’ scorecards. The Thai boxer was able to use his experience to build up a lead in the middle rounds and Jerusalem helped by losing a point for a low blow in the eighth. However, the challenger finished stronger, taking the last two round on two judges’ scorecards. Menayothin kept his title for the sixth time by the narrowest margins of 115-113 and 114-113 twice.
"I’m sorry I lost,"Jerusalem told SecondsOut. "I had one low blow, but the second was a good body shot."
Menayothin improved his record to 45-0-0 (17) and nears Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather’s coveted 49-0-0 benchmark with little press attention. Jerusalem fell to 11-1-0 (7), but take a huge moral victory back home to Cebu City, Philippines. Jerusalem dedicated his first world title effort to the memory of his father Beinvindo Jerusalem, who passed in June of 2015. Head trainer Michael Domingo has a lot to work with in his young talent and it is likely Jerusalem could be a champion before the end of 2017. Menayothin, 31, can now focus his attention on a major world title unification bout between he and fellow countryman Knockout CP Freshmart, who holds the WBA version of the title and was a truly underappreciated candidate for Fighter of the Year with three impressive victories over Carlos Buitrago, Byron Rojas, and Shin Ono in WBA title bouts.