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It?s Pinoys? time to shine in Vegas


PhilBoxing.com





Las Vegas matchmaker Sean Gibbons said yesterday Philippine history will be made on the biggest stage in boxing as IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas stakes his crown against countryman Jonas Sultan in the Top Rank main event of an ESPN show in Las Vegas on May 26.

?If you want to make a splash in boxing, all the great champions fought in Viva Las Vegas,? said Gibbons. ?Now, it?s the Filipinos? time to shine. Viva Jerwin and viva Sultan.? Gibbons said it?s unlikely that Filipinos will perform in the undercard with Top Rank rolling out the carpet for a lot of its other fighters in the bill.

There is no confirmed venue for the bout but Gibbons said he was informed that it could be the 3,000-seat Chelsea theatre in The Cosmopolitan, a 2,995-room luxury hotel and casino at the heart of the strip. The Cosmopolitan has hosted boxing events since 2011, including ESPN2?s ?Friday Night Fights? and shows produced by Golden Boy, Top Rank, HBO and Showtime. Vasyl Lomachenko stopped Nicholas Walters in a WBO superfeatherweight title fight at The Cosmopolitan in 2016 and last year, Filipino lightweight Mercito Gesta outpointed Gilberto Gonzalez in the same arena.

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. The previous marquee duel involving two Filipinos was in Cebu in 1965 when Flash Elorde outpointed Rene Barrientos to retain his Oriental lightweight crown. Both Elorde and Barrientos were world junior lightweight champions. The first world title bout between two Filipinos was held at the Wallace Field on the east end of Luneta in Manila in 1925 when Pancho Villa defeated Clever Sencio on points over 15 rounds to retain the flyweight crown.

Ancajas? fifth title defense was originally slated in the undercard of the Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford mainer at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on April 14. But the card was scuttled when Crawford injured his right hand in sparring. Horn?s defense of the WBO welterweight crown will now be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9 while the Ancajas fight was bumped up to main event status on May 26.

Both Ancajas and Sultan are getting ready for a historic collision. Ancajas? trainer Joven Jimenez said he has stepped up workouts at the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite while Sultan is preparing for the fight of his life at the ALA Gym in Cebu under trainer Edito Villamor.

ALA Boxing president Michael Aldeguer said it?s a 50-50 proposition. ?Both fighters are on a roll,? he said. ?Jerwin has been impressive in his last few fights and Jonas has proved that he deserves this chance after winning impressively against two respected former world champions in Johnriel Casimero and Sonny Boy Jaro plus his KO wins in South Africa and Japan.?

Aldeguer referred to Sultan?s win by unanimous decision over Casimero, his eighth round knockout of Jaro, his second round disposal of Makazole Tete in South Africa and his second round stoppage of Tatsuya Ikemizu in Japan. ?Jonas respects Jerwin as a world champion but he believes he can win it,? said Aldeguer. ?He?s very excited for the chance to fight for a world title and he has trained really hard the past months.?


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


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