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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson

Japanese may be next for Ancajas

By Joaquin Henson
02 Oct 2018

OAKLAND. It may not be WBC superflyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai who’ll face IBF titleholder Jerwin Ancajas next, after all. And a rematch with Alejandro Santiago is highly unlikely. Instead, Ancajas’ succeeding opponent could be Japan’s Ryuichi Funai, the IBF No. 3 contender who’s the upcoming mandatory challenger.

Ancajas’ manager Joven Jimenez said yesterday a mandatory defense is due and Funai is the highest-ranked contender since the No. 1 and No. 2 slots are vacant in the IBF honor roll. Jimenez said Ancajas won’t fight again this year and his next bout will be in either January or February.

“Jerwin needs to rest,” said Jimenez in Pilipino. “He went 12 hard rounds with Santiago. This year, Jerwin went 10 rounds with (Israel) Gonzalez and 12 with (Jonas) Sultan. His last two fights were difficult so he needs time to recover before going back to the gym.”

Jimenez said if Rungvisai wants to force the issue and battle Ancajas in a unification showdown, that will be an option, too. “It depends on what (matchmaker) Sir Sean (Gibbons) and Top Rank decide,” said Jimenez. “We’ll fight whomever they want, whether it’s Funai or Rungvisai or even Santiago. We’ll be ready for anyone. We know every fight will be difficult for Jerwin. He’s exposed. All his fights are on YouTube for anyone to study. Every challenger will come prepared.”

There is talk that after Rungvisai takes care of Mexican challenger Iran Diaz in Thailand on Oct. 6, he will face former world flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada in a rematch. In their first meeting last February, Rungvisai beat Estrada via a majority 12-round decision. But Rungvisai has reportedly expressed a preference to fight Ancajas in a unification duel and whoever wins will defend against Estrada. Jimenez said if that’s what’s on the table, Ancajas won’t back off.

Funai, 33, has won his last six outings to raise his record to 30-7, with 21 KOs. The 5-7 Japanese is coming off an eighth round stoppage of Filipino Warlito Parrenas for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific superflyweight crown in Tokyo. He has also beaten another Filipino Ryan Bito. But of his seven losses, one was to Filipino Rolly Lunas who scored a ninth round knockout in 2012. Three of Funai’s seven defeats were inside the distance. Funai turned pro in 2005, four years before Ancajas’ debut. He has figured in 37 bouts, four more than Ancajas.

A rematch with Santiago is a remote possibility. Santiago held Ancajas to a split 12-round draw at the Oracle Arena here Friday night. Jimenez said Ancajas couldn’t have lost more than five rounds in the bout as he dominated the action from the start. Jimenez said Ancajas has difficulty with smaller opponents who like to fight in-and-out. Santiago is 5-2 1/2 compared to the 5-6 Ancajas. Srisaket is 5-3 while Funai is 5-7. Based on height alone, Funai could be a leading candidate as Ancajas’ next opponent particularly as he’s the mandatory challenger.

IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and his manager Joven Jimenez arrived at the NAIA 1 terminal yesterday morning.

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