ALMOST a century later, history repeats itself.
Jerwin Ancajas is set to stake his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight crown against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan on April 14 in Las Vegas, Nevada, marking the first all-Filipino world title fight since 1925.
A source close to the boxing champion confirmed the 12-round fight is definitely a go, but chose to remain anonymous pending the official announcement by international matchmaker Sean Gibbons who is set to arrive in the country on Tuesday.
The Ancajas-Sultan faceoff will be the first time two Filipinos go up against each other since Pancho Villa defeated compatriot Clever Sencio by unanimous decision to retain his world flyweight crown 93 years ago.
It will serve as the major undercard in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title fight between champion Jeff Horn and undefeated challenger Terrence Crawford at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
The slot was supposed to be reserved for Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao, but later turned down the offer of Top Rank Promotions, which the eight-time world division champion found rather ‘insulting’ after serving as the main attraction in Horn’s biggest career fight – a unanimous decision win over the ‘Pacman’ himself last July in Brisbane, Australia.
This is the second time the 26-year-old Ancajas will be fighting in the U.S. in three months’ time after successfully retaining his title against Israel Gonzalez last February in Texas during his American debut.
“Excited po si Jerwin kasi finally makakalaban na siya sa Las Vegas,” said trainer Joven Jimenez. “Sana nga po magtuluy-tuloy na ito.”
Ancajas owns a 29-1-1 record with 20 KOs. He has so far defended his title four times since winning the crown over McJoe Arroyo in a 12-round unanimous decision in October 2016.
Sultan is fighting outside of the country for the first time in the biggest break of his career. A protégée of Cebu-based ALA Promotions, he sports a 14-3 record with 9 KOs.