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China defense for Ancajas?


PhilBoxing.com




IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas has to dispose of countryman Jonas (Zorro) Sultan in a mandatory defense against the No. 1 contender before conjuring visions of a high-profile, big-money unification showdown with WBC titlist Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand or WBO king Khalid Yafai of the UK or WBA ruler Naoya Inoue of Japan in the 115-pound division that has caught the attention of HBO to promote in the US market.

Ancajas, 25, was called the second coming of Manny Pacquiao by Filipino Silvestre Abainza, one of three judges assigned to his third defense against Jamie Conlan in Belfast last Saturday. Abainza, Englishman Dave Paris and American John Stewart had Ancajas ahead by a wide margin when referee Steve Gray stopped it at 0:52 of the sixth round. Conlan was down in the first, third, fourth and sixth rounds before Gray, an American, stepped in.

Ancajas’ manager Joven Jimenez said the defense against Sultan could be held in China in February. Last September, Sultan decisioned Johnriel Casimero in Cebu to claim the No. 1 position in the IBF ratings and become the next mandatory challenger. There are five Filipinos in the IBF’s top 15 ladder in the superflyweight class----No. 1 Sultan, No. 6 Aston Palicte, No. 7 Rene Dacquel, No. 8 Casimero and No. 14 Ryan Lumacad. Conlan is rated No. 4.

Jimenez said Sultan shouldn’t be a problem for Ancajas but prefers a defense against a foreigner. “Makakalaban talaga namin si Sultan kasi siya ang mandatory,” he said, adding the next defense will be against the No. 1 contender according to the IBF rules. Jimenez said he was surprised Casimero, a heavy-handed former two-division world champion, couldn’t bring down Sultan.

Jimenez said Casimero probably took Sultan lightly and didn’t prepare hard enough. “Binoksing ni Sultan si Casimero, pasundut-sundot, sa labas lumaban,” he said. “Walang halos tinamaan si Casimero.” Jimenez said Sultan countered effectively whenever Casimero charged in, throwing him off-balance. But against Ancajas, Jimenez said Sultan won’t be able to control the tempo.

Jimenez said a win over Sultan will pave the way for Ancajas to join the superflyweight derby that HBO is pitching. Last September, HBO staged “SuperFly 1” with Srisaket knocking out Nicaragua’s Roman (Chocolatito) Gonzalez, Inoue stopping Cleveland’s Antonio Nieves and Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada outpointing compatriot Carlos Cuadras as a feature in its Boxing After Dark series at the StubHub Center in Carson, near Los Angeles. On Feb. 24, it will be “SuperFly 2” with Srisaket facing Estrada at StubHub and an undercard that could involve Gonzalez, Cuadras and Filipino Brian Viloria.

Jimenez said it’s Ancajas’ dream to make a breakthrough on US TV. Las Vegas matchmaker Sean Gibbons described Ancajas as the future of Filipino boxing. “If the networks give Jerwin a chance, he’ll be the next big thing in Philippine boxing,” said Gibbons. “The plan is to eventually bring Jerwin to the US the same way Manny broke through. Jerwin’s division is the hottest in boxing today with guys like Srisaket, Chocolatito, Cuadras, Estrada and Inoue.”

No Filipino has fought another Filipino in a world title fight since WBF welterweight champion William Magahin decisioned Erwin Villaver, a Hawaiian of pure Filipino descent, at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in 1995. And the previous major fight involving two Filipinos was in Cebu in 1965 when Flash Elorde outpointed Rene Barrientos to retain his Oriental lightweight crown.

Photo: Jerwin Ancajas (left) and badly battered challenger Jamie Conlan after their fight in Belfast last Saturday.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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