FRESNO, CALIFORNIA – Jerwin Ancajas is slowly building a U.S. fan base as he gears up for the defense of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title this Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).
Top Rank Promotions chairman Bob Arum is looking to line up two more fights for the rising Filipino boxing star if and when he beats compatriot Jonas Sultan in their 12-round championship fight at the Save Mart Center here.
“Definitely, Jerwin will have two more fights this year,” said Arum, granting a few minutes of interview with Filipino sportswriters who are covering the first all-Filipino world title bout since 1925.
Arum is looking at a September and December fight date for the 26-year-old champion from the Joven Sports stable.
The veteran 83-year-old promoter himself was surprised with the recognition Ancajas has earned since making his U.S. debut in Corpus Christi, Texas last January in which he scored a 10th-round stoppage of Israel Gonzalez to retain his IBF belt.
Top Rank signed the native of Panabo, Davao del Norte to a two-year contract prior to the Gonzalez title defense.
“I know a lot of American-Filipinos and it’s amazing how many has come up to me and talked about Jerwin. I’m startled,” admitted Arum.
In the past, he said all Filipino-Americans would come up to him and talk about Manny Pacquiao. Not now.
“But now many of them or most of them, are coming up and talking to me about Jerwin,” said Arum, who added the two Filipino channels here, ABS-CBN and GMA, respectively, are both ‘doing a lot of stuff on Jerwin.’
The recent long-term agreement between Top Rank and ESPN has allowed the staging of more boxing fights televised on a regular basis by the network and on live streaming, which all the more make possible champion fighters like Ancajas to see action three or four times a year.
“We are now in a position where we are doing two or three fights every month, so the thing we’re looking for is talent who appeal to the people but who can also fight triple time,” explained Arum.
“So that used to be one, two fights. Now all our main fighters fight at least three, and many of them are going to fight four times, title fights and that’s unheard of. We have the platform now to make that happen.”