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Ancajas awaits IBF go-signal


PhilBoxing.com




The date and venue are set for IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ ninth title defense but until the New Jersey-based governing body confirms who his next challenger is, it could be either No. 1 Israel Gonzalez or No. 10 Jonathan Javier Rodriguez, both from Mexico.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said yesterday he expects the IBF to give its go-signal on Ancajas’ opponent by tomorrow or Thursday. He declined to name anyone as the likely challenger, deferring to Top Rank to make the announcement. But it’s final that Ancajas’ fight will be at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on April 11. The Cosmopolitan is a 2,995-room luxury hotel and casino at the heart of the strip and has hosted several boxing events at the 3,000-seat Chelsea Theatre.

Gonzalez, 23, defeated Japan’s Sho Ishida by a split 12-round decision in Osaka last December to nail the No. 1 spot in an eliminator. If Gonzalez is picked, it will be a rematch. In 2018, Ancajas halted Gonzalez in the 10th round to post his fourth title defense in Corpus Christi, Texas. If Rodriguez is chosen, it will be the realization of their duel that was originally scheduled in Carson City last Nov. 2 but postponed when the Mexican failed to complete the state medical requirements because his US visa was issued late.

Ancajas’ trainer and manager Joven Jimenez said whether it’s Gonzalez or Rodriguez or anyone else, the Panabo, Davao del Norte, southpaw will be ready. “No problem kung sino man ang kalaban,” said Jimenez. “Nasa 130 pounds si Jerwin at maganda ang kondisyon niya.” Ancajas relocated from Magallanes, Cavite to Dipolog last Jan. 16 to avoid the onset of ashfall due to the Taal Volcano eruption and has since set up training camp with six sparmates in Big Boss Cement president Gilbert Cruz’ resthouse in Zamboanga del Norte. Early this month, Ancajas’ wife Ruth and their three children arrived in Dipolog for a visit and will stay until the fighter leaves for Las Vegas next week.

Ancajas’ nutritionist Jeaneth Aro will arrive in Dipolog on Saturday in time for a media conference on his coming fight. It will also be on Saturday when Samuel Salva, who is trained by Jimenez, takes on one-time world title challenger Jeffrey Galero in the main event of a boxing card in Dipolog. Salva, 23, was stopped by Pedro Taduran in a battle for the vacant IBF minimumweight crown in Taguig last September but has bounced back to stop Donny Mabao in Iligan City last January. Salva’s record is 18-1, with 11 KOs, and he’s hoping for a rematch with Taduran.

“Nasa tamang target kami sa training program ni Jerwin,” said Jimenez. “Focus kami sa darating na laban. Wala si Jerwin kinakatakutan. Kahit sino makalaban. Masaya kami nanalo si Chocolatito (Gonzalez) dahil matapang siya. May pag-asa kami makaharap siya.” The Nicaraguan wrested the super WBA 115-pound crown from England’s Khalid Yafai on a ninth round stoppage in Frisco, Texas, last Feb. 29 to raise his record to 49-2, with 41 KOs.

Ancajas has now sparred over 80 rounds to prepare for his next fight. He’s not taking any chances. If it’s Gonzalez or Rodriguez, Ancajas will make sure he’s prepared to do what it takes to bring back the belt to the Philippines. His goal is to unify the superflyweight championship and facing either Chocolatito or WBC titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada would be a dream come true.


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


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