FROM Asia, Australia, Europe, and now America.
Jerwin Ancajas takes his act before the rich American boxing market for the first time when he defends the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight title two months from now against Israel Gonzales of Mexico in what should be a slambang 2018 start for the rising Filipino world champion.
The February 3 bout at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas marks the U.S. debut of the 25-year-old pride of Panabo, Davao del Norte, who at this early, is already being hailed by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum as the ‘next Manny Pacquiao.’
International match maker Sean Gibbons made the official announcement Saturday in a press conference held at Island Cove in Cavite in the presence of Ancajas, trainer manager Joven Jimenez, Games and Amusement Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra, and Jo Ramos of MP Promotions.
“Excited po na maipakita kung ano meron ako (as a boxer) sa Amerika,” said the soft-spoken champion as he looks forward to his first U.S. fight.
Training for Ancajas’ fourth title defense has already in its early stage, according to his trainer, and will go full blast once the Christmas season is over.
“Nag-umpisa na po kaming mag-training, and from there, tuluy-tuloy na ang conditioning,” said Ancajas.
Gibbons said the fight will be telecast live over ESPN, with World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez of Mexico fighting in the main event against Habib Ahmed of Ghana.
Like Ancajas, his Mexican foe will be fighting for the first time in the U.S., making their title match a showcase for both young fighters.
“We’re looking forward of showing to the U.S that Jerwin is one of the best 115-pounder in the world,” said Gibbons.
“You only get one shot (in the U.S.), so you show up, you want to make a hit, and make an impressive performance.”
Ancajas (28-1, with 19 KOs) is fresh from a sixth round TKO of previously unbeaten Jamie Conlan in Belfast, Ireland to retain his title belt last November.
He previously defended it Jose Alfredo Rodriguez with a seventh round technical decision in Macau last January, before following it up with a seventh round stoppage of Teiru Kinoshita in Brisbane, Australia as the undercard of the Pacquiao-Jeff Horn title showdown for the WBO welterweight championship.
Gonzales holds a record of 21-1 with 8KOs.