By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
IBF world junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2,21KO’s) has arrived in the United States for his November 2 title defense against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1,15KO’s).
The Filipino southpaw will make the eighth defense of his title in Carson, California. The September rankings of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has Rodriguez ranked only at number 14 but there is interest in this fight simply because of Rodriguez’s last fight in June when his opponent, fellow Mexican Felipe Orucuta, collapsed in the ring after the fight was stopped in the tenth round. Orucuta had emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain. Six weeks later, Orocuta was reported to be awake and showing signs of neurological improvement. This will be Rodriguez’s first shot at a world crown.
Chief trainer and manager Joven Jimenez told this writer in a short chat that Ancajas is ready and they are on target with his weight. He trained in relative isolation for more than three months in a Philippine Navy facility in San Antonio, Zambales
“We trained for the full twelve rounds,” Jimenez told this writer, “But if the opportunity comes, we will go for the knockout.”
Ancajas’ last defense in May was a one-sided demolition of Japanese Ryuichi Funai in Stockton, California.
Not to look past Rodriguez, the 27 year old Ancajas is in search of a career defining superfight. There has been a lot of interest in the 115lb division for the past two years due to the ‘Superfly’ fight cards. But Ancajas, just like his countryman Donnie Nietes, has been outside looking in.
The other organizations have fine champions, the WBA has Khalid Yafai of the U.K., Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada has the WBC belt and is widely considered to be the division’s top dog and Japanese Kazuto Ioka has the WBO crown after Nietes gave up the title early this year.
Ancajas travelled to Thailand in October of last year hoping for a showdown against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who was then the biggest name in the division. But Estrada beat Sor Rungvisai (Wisaksil Wangek) by unanimous decision in their rematch last April.
There has been a lot of speculation as to who Ancajas should fight next. Securing a big fight is another story.
Top photo of Jerwin Ancajas on his arrival in the U.S. c/o Joven Jimenez
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