By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, a few sporting disciplines have returned to offer fans a welcome distraction. Unfortunately for fight fans in the Philippines, boxing has been put on ice.
A few Filipino boxers who were already in the United States before travel restrictions were tightened have gotten fights and the lone win that stands out was Mike Plania’s upset over erstwhile WBO number one bantamweight Joshua Greer in Las Vegas last June 16.
But for the reigning Filipino world champions, the wait for ring action has been really tough.
IBF junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2,22KO’s) has not defended since December, an easy fight against Chilean Miguel Gonzalez in Mexico.
This would have been a problem for most fighters but Ancajas’ manager Joven Jimenez said the champ is in shape.
“He has continued to train. In fact we cautioned him about overtraining.” Jimenez told this writer, “He even continues to spar.”
Jimenez is hoping visa restrictions will ease for them to travel to the United States by August. He thinks the defense against Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1,15KO’s) of Mexico will happen. Rodriguez was supposed to fight Ancajas last November.
Jimenez also mentioned Top Rank’s plan for a unification against WBA titleholder Joshua Franco (17-1-2,8KO’s) of the U.S. Franco beat Australian Andrew Moloney for the “regular” WBA world title belt last June 23 by unanimous decision in Las Vegas. The WBA “super” champion is Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez.
Ancajas has been quoted that he is even open to fighting former four division champion Donnie Nietes. Jimenez said he has not received any formal notice about it.Nietes has not fought since vacating the WBO junior bantamweight title in 2019 and has been inactive for almost nineteen months.
Other Filipino champions continuing their long anticipation are IBF world minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2-1,11KO’s), WBO bantamweight king John Riel Casimero (29-4,20KO’s) and WBA “super” world welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2,39KO’s).
Casimero is still in the U.S. but his unification with IBF/WBA champ Naoya Inoue of Japan is on hold. Casimero has not seen action since dethroning South African Zolani Tete last November in the U.K.
The 41 year old Pacquiao has not had a fight for almost a full year. He is also an incumbent Senator in the Philippines.
Taduran is the only Filipino world champion who made a defense in 2020. Last February, he fought Mexican Daniel Valladares to a technical draw in the challenger’s home turf.
It is also worth mentioning that one of the last fight cards held in the Philippines before contact sports was shut down was the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) minimumweight title fight between fellow Filipinos ArAr Andales and Rey Caitom. Andales (11-2,3KO’s) won by KO in round five to win the vacant title in Cebu City.
Photo- Joven Jimenez and Jerwin Ancajas (right)
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.