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‘Perfect Storm’ postponed


PhilBoxing.com




Las Vegas matchmaker Sean Gibbons called it “the perfect storm” as he explained the right timing to book IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ fifth title defense against fellow Filipino Jonas Sultan in the undercard of the Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford main event in Las Vegas on April 14 until something happened yesterday.

Ancajas’ trainer Joven Jimenez said Gibbons spoke with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum who confirmed that the Las Vegas card has been postponed to May or June because Crawford hurt his right hand during a sparring session. Ancajas’ mandatory defense will be moved to the undercard of either the reset Horn-Crawford mainer or the Vasyl Lomachenko-Jorge Linares headliner at Madison Square Garden in New York City on May 12.

Gibbons, who flew into town last Tuesday night, said Arum had an option to stage Ancajas’ fight in Philadelphia on April 28. “Philadelphia and the Philippines sound alike but other than that, I think there’s a bigger Filipino market in Corpus Christi, Texas, where Jerwin last fought,” he said. “This will be a historic fight between two Filipinos.”

The first world title fight involving two Filipinos was held at the Wallace Field on the east end of Luneta in 1925 when Pancho Villa retained his flyweight crown via a 15-round decision over Clever Sencio. In 1995, WBF welterweight champion William Magahin outpointed Hawaiian challenger Erwin Villaver, who is a full-blooded Filipino, in a 12-round bout at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Gibbons said two Filipinos fighting for the world crown is a rarity and one for the books.

Gibbons said he’s not worried about Ancajas’ “quick turnaround” after halting Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez in Corpus Christi last Feb. 3. “I think Jerwin got hit with only 20 clean punches from four fights back so there’s nothing to recover from,” said Gibbons. “It’ll be a tough fight because Jonas is an aggressive guy who puts a lot of pressure on his opponent. I watched his fight against (Johnriel) Casimero and he looked good. Jerwin can’t take Jonas lightly. But I like Jerwin’s chances.”

Ancajas, 27, hasn’t lost a round in his last four fights, dating back to his seventh round retirement of Mexico’s Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in Macau in January last year. That’s a stretch of 30 rounds where he’s been unscathed. Jimenez said Ancajas started sparring at the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, two weeks ago to prepare for Sultan. the postponement will mean a slight adjustment in Ancajas' training regimen to avoid burning out. The no-frills, bare-bones camp is home to 15 fighters and Jimenez is rotating several sparmates to keep Ancajas sharp.

PLDT CEO Manny V. Pangilinan gave Jimenez and Ancajas P1 Million last Tuesday to spruce up the camp which is attracting foreign fighters to train in the facility. Australian superfeatherweight James MacDonald recently showed up to work out in the gym and two Chinese fighters are set to arrive next week. Former WBO superflyweight champion Marvin Sonsona, who hasn’t fought in three years, is the latest addition to the camp.

Jimenez said Ancajas was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles eight days before facing Sultan to appear in a media workout then will have motored to Las Vegas for his appointment at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The referee for the fight will have been Russell Mora of Las Vegas while Tim Cheatham of Nevada, Glenn Feldman of Connecticut and Don Trella, also of Connecticut, were assigned as judges. Now, the “Perfect Storm” will find another date for Ancajas.

Photo: IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (fourth from left) with (from left) TV5 CEO Chot Reyes, POC president Ricky Vargas, PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, trainer Joven Jimenez and stablemate Mark Anthony Barriga.


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


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