By Rene Bonsubre Jr – Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2,22KO’s) was supposed to defend his IBF world junior bantamweight title on November 2 against Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1,15KO’s) in California. But the fight got cancelled with just a couple of days to go with visa issues for Rodriguez cited as the cause.
Ancajas wound up fighting in Mexico on December 7 against a Chilean challenger, Miguel Gonzalez. Ancajas made the eighth successful defense of his title by sixth round TKO.
Now, Rodriguez is once again mentioned as Ancajas’ next challenger. A few days ago, there were already reports that this fight will be held on February 22, the day of the highly anticipated rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with Ancajas and Rodriguez as one of the supporting bouts.
Ancajas’ trainer and manager, Joven Jimenez told this writer that they have received notice from Top Rank to get ready for a defense against Rodriguez. But with the February 22 date being to close, the present plan is for an April defense for Ancajas. Jimenez also told this writer that they will be starting their training camp but they will be moving south to Dipolog City.
When Ancajas started his reign as IBF champion in 2016, his training ground, known as Survival Camp here in the Philippines, was based in Cavite. But they had to move to a Philippine Marine base last year to avoid the distractions that came when Ancajas got more media attention. The 28 year old southpaw is a reservist in the Philippine Navy and was promoted last year to reserve senior chief petty officer.
Last December 28, one of his former challengers, earned the right to face Ancajas again. Israel Gonzalez of Mexico beat Japanese Sho Ishida by split decision in a fight held in Osaka. This gave Gonzalez the IBF mandatory challenger status in the 115 lb division. Two years ago, Gonzalez (25-3,11KO’s) lost to Ancajas by tenth round TKO in a fight held in Texas.
Rodriguez on the other hand, is ranked number 14 by the IBF. His last fight in June got a lot of attention when his opponent, fellow Mexican Felipe Orucuta, collapsed in the ring after the fight was stopped in the tenth. Orucuta had to undergo emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot. Six weeks later, he was reported to be awake and showing signs of improvement. This will be Rodriguez’s first world title shot.
So it seems the situation is still fluid and it would be interesting in the coming weeks if Ancajas does wind up defending against Rodriguez or a rematch against his number one contender Gonzalez.