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Ancajas defense reset but foe unsure

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
Sat, 02 Nov 2019



IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and nutritionist Jeaneth Aro in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES. IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas won’t stake his title against Jonathan Javier Rodriguez at the Dignity Health Sports Park in nearby Carson City after all as Top Rank Promotions yesterday decided to cancel the scheduled 12-round fight with the Mexican challenger unable to complete his medical exams on time because of a delay in the issuance of his US visa.

For over a month, MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons tried to facilitate the release of Rodriguez’ US visa. There were slip-ups along the way like Rodriguez missing his appointment at the US Embassy in Mexico City. Rodriguez’ visa was finally approved last Oct. 25 but for some reason, the US government failed to release it until last Thursday in Monterrey. By then, Rodriguez wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the medical requirements of the California State Athletic Commission to proceed with the fight.

“We were frantically trying to speed up the process but it didn’t happen,” said Gibbons. “I’m just devastated. Something bad like this shouldn’t happen to a good guy like Jerwin who sacrificed so much to get to the condition he’s in now. The visa came too late but there were also issues involving Rodriguez himself.”

Ancajas’ eighth title defense was scheduled to take place tonight (tomorrow morning, Manila time). Ancajas would’ve easily made the 115-pound limit at the weigh-in but that’s no longer relevant. Before Gibbons, who is in Manila, phoned Ancajas’ manager Joven Jimenez to break the news late yesterday afternoon, the fighter had just skipped rope, banged the mitts, shadow boxed and did calisthenics then stepped on the scales to hit 115.

“Ginawa ko yung dapat kong gawin,” said Ancajas. “Handang-handa no akong lumaban. Nakuha ko na ang timbang. Malungkot ako at alam kong marami tayong kababayan sabik na sabik mapanood yung laban ko. Nguni’t, wala sa atin control ang nangyari. Ganoon talaga kung minsan ang boksing. Hihingi na lang ako ng pasyensya sa mga kababayan natin.”

Ancajas, Jimenez, nutritionist Jeaneth Aro and their traveling party are scheduled to leave here for Manila on Wednesday. But with this development, it looks like Ancajas and Jimenez will stay in the US with Top Rank announcing the fight may be reset to Dec. 7, possibly in Puebla, Mexico, in the undercard of the main event featuring WBO superbantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete. Gibbons said Ancajas could set up training camp in Las Vegas where other Filipino fighters Johnriel Casimero, Marlon Tapales and Jhack Tepora are based until he heads off to Mexico or wherever his next fight is held.

Tomorrow night, Ancajas will watch the NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center. It will keep his mind off boxing for a while. Then, as soon as Top Rank finalizes the schedule for his next fight, he’ll be back in the gym to prepare himself for his aborted eighth title defense.

Because the fight against Rodriguez isn’t pushing through, Ancajas will receive no purse. Gibbons said he has so far advanced the funding to cover Ancajas’ training expenses and will also arrange for money to be sent to the fighter’s family in Cavite. “We’ll get it back when the next fight happens,” he said. “Maybe, we’ll request Uncle Bob (Arum) to advance a portion of Jerwin’s purse so we can take care of his expenses for the next month until the fight on Dec. 7.”

It’s not certain if Rodriguez will still be Ancajas’ challenger in the reset fight. Gibbons said it may be somebody else. Rodriguez was supposed to arrive here early this week. He was reportedly training in Tijuana and ready to hop into a car to take the 2 1/2 hour drive to L. A. but couldn’t leave because of his visa issues. Rodriguez could’ve avoided the delay and stress if he were more responsible. He scrambled to obtain his US visa at the last minute but couldn’t be ready to fight as scheduled.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.

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