The planned New Year’s Eve showdown between the two reigning champions at the 115 division in Tokyo had been postponed after the Japanese government decided to close its borders to all foreigners from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant.
The postponement came as expected after a similar world title fight pitting superstar Gennady Golovkin against Ryota Murata in a middleweight unification bout was earlier scrapped as Japan tightened its COVID-19 protocols. The fight was set for a Dec. 29 play date in Saitama.
New coronavirus protocols prevent Jerwin Ancajas from seeing action in Japan this year.
“Wala na. Postponed na,” said Jimenez in a short message from Los Angeles, where Ancajas has set up training camp since October.
"Team Ancajas was looking forward to this historic fight against Ioka, but understands there are bigger concerns than boxing in Japan and the world with the situation caused by the emergence of this latest variant," said Gibbons.
"We remain committed to making this fight happen as soon as possible in Japan."
The Ancajas camp has yet to determine the next course of action it will take, although the fight postponement denied the long-time IBF champion of a marquee fight that has long been wanting in his reign at 115-pounds.
The native of Panabo, Davao Del Norte, who has a ring record of 33-1-2 with 22 KOs, last fought in April this year, scoring a hard-fought unanimous decision against Jonathan Rodriguez of Mexico at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.
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