AFTER a six-month stay in the US, a fight is finally imminent for world champion Jerwin Ancajas.
Manny Pacquiao (MP) Promotions President Sean Gibbons bared an April bout is now being eyed for the long delayed International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title defense of the Filipino fighter against Jonathan Rodriguez of Mexico.
“I believe by Wednesday we’ll have a date and announce that fight,” Gibbons announced in the Power & Play program of former PBA commissioner Noli Eala.
“The date we’re looking at is April. We’ve got to get in the ring by April.”
Ancajas, 29, has been in the US since October in the hope of finally arranging a title bout with Rodriguez that has long been in the table, dating to as far back as 2019.
Originally penciled in for November 2019 in Carson, California, the fight was cancelled at the last minute when the Mexican challenger failed to secure his US visa.
The Panabo, Davao Del Norte native did get to fight December of the same year, scoring a sixth-round stoppage of Miguel Gonzalez in Puebla, Mexico to retain his 115-lbs title belt.
The Rodriguez bout was then set for an April fight date in Las Vegas, Nevada, only to be put in the backburner again following the surge of COVID-19 around the world.
Hopefully, this one will officially be a go.
“Ganun pa rin ang trabaho namin, tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang ensayo and hintay pa rin kung kelan mabibigay ng laban,” said Ancajas (32-1, 22 KOs) in the same weekly program.
“Hindi rin natin kasi masisi kung bakit matagal. Basta focus lang sa ensayo at kung ano lang ang maibibigay sa akin.”
This early a unification bout against World Boxing Organization (WBO) 115-lbs title holder Kazuto Ioka is being mentioned as among those in the horizon for Ancajas.
Gibbons is very much amenable for an Ioka match, but stressed the Filipino has to take care of business first against Rodriguez.
“First we have to take care of our mandatory against Jonathan Rodriguez. Once we take care of Rodriguez, everybody is on the take,” said the American matchmaker.
By "everybody" Gibbons meant anyone among Ioka, World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, the reigning World Boxing Association (WBA) title holder, and former champions Srisaket Sor Ruvingsai and Carlos Quadras.
“Whatever is the signature fight, the time is now. Jerwin has been champ for a long time now. He’s ready for the best,” said Gibbons.