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SPORTS SHORTS 19: JERWIN ANCAJAS AIMS FOR TITLE UNIFICATION AGAINST KAZUTO IOKA


PhilBoxing.com



Ancajas.

IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas has been fighting lesser known opponents in one of boxing’s illustrious divisions. However promoter Sean Gibbons assured that won't happen again in 2021. He told Steve Kim of ESPN that after “Pretty Boy” Ancajas faces mandatory challenger Jonathan Rodriguez, they would negotiate a fight with WBO champion Kazuto Ioka in a unification bout.

* * *

The interesting match will lead to a possible undisputed championship fight later this year or early next year. Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 KO), age 29 of Panabo City, Davao del Norte, has made eight successful defenses since grabbing the title from McJoe Arroyo of Ceiba, Puerto Rico, but has not faced any of the division’s best fighters. He targeted WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada, age 30 years of Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, but there were promotional hitches.

* * *

Estrada is scheduled to face WBA “super” champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez, age 33 of Managua, Nicaragua, on March 13. The winner of that unification fight is mandated to defend against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, age 34 of Uthumphon Phisai, Sisaket, Thailand. Ancajas will fight Rodriguez (22-1, 16 KOs), age 25 of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, and Ioka (26-2, 15 KO), age 31 of Sakai, Osaka, Japan, will also defend his own title, and if both champions will finally unify their belts, the IBF/WBO champion will meet the WBC/WBA champion at the end of 2021 or early 2022.

* * *

The proposed unification was confirmed by Ancajas' trainer Joven Jimenez from Los Angeles, where the champ has been training with Tokyo Olympian Eumir Marcial and former world title challenger Jonas Sultan. “This is what all of us wants, including Sean so that’s why he’s been working hard to make these fights happen,” said Jimenez as quoted by Inquirer Sports. “We want to unify all the belts. We’re not planning to go up on weight, we want to get all the belts.”

* * *

According to Jimenez, rigid training will commence when a fixed date for Ancajas' fight with Rodriguez will be finalized. Ancajas is now the longest reigning superflyweight champion since winning the IBF diadem on September 3, 2016. Estrada became WBC champion in April 26, 2019, Ioka won his WBO title in June 19, 2019 while Gonzalez is the latest getting his WBA belt on February 29, 2020.

* * *

Ancajas has not fought a unification bout and Jimenez thinks there’s a big reason. "They say that the other camps are dodging Jerwin,” said Jimenez. At 5'6", Ancajas is one of the biggest superflyweights. He has not fought last year due to the pandemic. His last fight was a 6th round TKO over Miguel Gonzalez of Chile on December 7, 2019 in Puebla, Mexico.

* * *

World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman called Teofimo Lopez, who holds the WBA, WBO, IBF lightweight titles and is also the WBC's Franchise champion, as the "undisputed champion" and further said that whoever beats Lopez will be considered as the undisputed champion. In the same division, Devin Haney is the WBC regular champion while Ryan Garcia is the WBC interim champion. Haney disagrees with that position and he sees himself as the legitimate WBC champion and says Lopez is not the undisputed champion until they fight each other.

* * *

"I don't care about that, I won't going into a debate between what one said and the other responded," Sulaiman told Boxing Social. “I have no problem [in calling Lopez the undisputed champion]. We have been very clear with each side, with each boxer. And if they want to ignore that the WBC recognizes a franchise champion, then that's their problem."

* * *

Joe Harris scored a season-high 28 points and the Brooklyn Nets, despite of the absence of their two superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 122-109, on Thursday. Irving was not able to play for personal reasons, and coach Steve Nash said the reason for his absence was a personal matter. The Nets played without Durant for a second consecutive game because of the NBA’s health protocols. Nash said Durant will return Sunday if he continues to test negative for COVID-19. The 76ers had a 7-1 record before the game, the best in the Eastern conference.

* * *

The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to have several players missing the game due to contact tracing and are still waiting for the results of Friday's COVID-19 testing, according to ESPN. These players became in close contact with Seth Curry, who sources say was tested positive on Thursday. The Sixers listed seven players as questionable for their scheduled home game against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday due to health and safety protocols: Joel Embiid, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Vincent Poirier and Paul Reed. The team knew of Curry's positive test result before the start of its game with the Nets.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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