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Sultan ready for Jerwin


PhilBoxing.com




ALA Boxing president Michael Aldeguer said yesterday his protégé Jonas (Zorro) Sultan of Zamboanga del Norte will be ready for IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas anytime, anywhere in the first Filipino versus Filipino world title fight since WBF welterweight champion William Magahin outpointed Hawaii-based Erwin Villaver at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in 1995.

Sultan, 26, zoomed to No. 1 in the IBF ratings after beating two former world champions back to back last year. First, he stopped former WBC flyweight ruler Sonny Boy Jaro in the eighth round in Angono last May. Then, Sultan decisioned former IBF lightflyweight and flyweight king Johnriel Casimero in a 12-round title eliminator in Cebu last September. Ancajas is due for a mandatory defense and his manager/trainer Joven Jimenez said the fight against Sultan will likely be in June somewhere in the US.

Sultan isn’t bargaining for a $20,000 step-aside fee to give Ancajas a chance to make his fifth title defense optional against a choice challenger. Aldeguer said Sultan isn’t backing down from Ancajas and is looking forward to his first world title shot.

“Sultan is eager to fight for the world title which has been his dream for a long time now, regardless of whom he is up against,” said Aldeguer. “I personally wasn’t open to it before since we are all Filipinos. The first time a Filipino fought a Filipino for the world title was in 1925 (when Pancho Villa retained his flyweight crown on a 15-round decision over Clever Sencio at the Wallace Field on the east end of Luneta). We are used to supporting Filipino fighters regardless of where they’re from.”

Aldeguer said Ancajas facing Sultan will be a strong statement that Filipinos are dominant in world boxing. “If you look at the bigger picture, it could put a stamp that the Philippines is a boxing powerhouse with all the Filipino fighters fighting on the world stage just like the Mexicans who fight each other all the time,” he said. “If it has to happen, we are open to it.”

Aldeguer said he’s not inclined to bid to stage the fight in the Philippines. “I think it’s best for the fight to take place in the US since it will be historical for all the Filipinos around the world,” he said. “It will be a tactical fight as both fighters are smart. Jonas showed his versatility in his last two fights against former world champions while Jerwin is on a roll. We are all so proud of Ancajas who did great last weekend and in three weeks, it’s Donnie Nietes’ turn to fight on the HBO live telecast.” Nietes will stake his IBF flyweight crown against Argentina’s Juan Carlos Reveco at the Forum in Inglewood, California, on Feb. 24.

Sultan has never fought in the US. Twice, he saw action in Japan, losing to Go Onaga on points in Okinawa in 2015 and halting Tetsuya Ikemizu in Osaka a year later. His only other defeats were by split decision over six rounds to Rolando Servania in 2013 and Jonathan Francsico in 2014. The Philippine and IBF Intercontinental superflyweight champion has won his last five outings, four inside the distance. In 2016, Sultan ventured to South Africa where Filipinos don’t usually win and bowled over Makazole Tete in two rounds. His record is 14-3, with 9 KOs compared to Ancajas’ 29-1-1, with 20 KOs.

Jimenez said the plan is for Ancajas, who has a contract with Top Rank, to fight twice or thrice more this year. Las Vegas matchmaker Sean Gibbons said a fight card featuring Manny Pacquiao and Ancajas taking on separate opponents would be an “overkill” as both are crowd drawers on their own. Jimenez said before leaving Corpus Christi for home, Gibbons and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum had a tentative agreement to set Ancajas’ next fight in June in the US.

Photo: Jonas Sultan (R) in action against former world champion Johnriel Casimero.


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


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