By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Filipino boxer Jerwin Ancajas makes his ring return as he defends his IBF World super flyweight championship against Mexican Jonathan Rodriguez on Saturday night (Sunday in the Philippines) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
This will be Ancajas’ ninth defense on the world championship he won at the hands of Puerto Rican veteran McJoe Arroyo on September, 2016 at the Philippine Marine Corp. in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
The Ancajas-Rodriguez world title clash was a long time coming as it was originally scheduled for last year but was several times postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
But despite the delay and being inactive since beating Chile’s Miguel Gonzales in December 2019, the Panabo City, Davao del Norte-native Ancajas said he is in tip-top shape for his title defense.
“I’m excited and happy for this opportunity to be back in the ring after some time. Waiting is nothing new to me. I have experienced this in the past,” Ancajas said in a virtual presser.
“As a fighter, I always keep myself ready; whoever I’m up against and wherever the match may be,” he added. “Since I came over here last year (in the United States), we have been training steadily.”
MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons, whose group handles the professional career of Ancajas, said they see Ancajas’ match against Rodriguez with much significance as this could be key for him to land tougher matches in the future.
“We are excited to finally get this going. This is an important fight for Jerwin. He needs to get past this to go for the other top fighters,” said Gibbons, pertaining to Thai Srisakit Sor Rungvisai, American Joshua Franco (regular WBA champions), and Japanese Kazuto Ioka (WBO champion).
The 29-year-old Ancajas will be entering the match with 32-1-2 win-loss-draw ring record, including 22 stoppage victories, while the 25-year-old Rodriguez carries a 22-1-0 slate, with 16 wins via stoppages.
In the undercard, Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo will stake his unbeaten 21-0-0 record (including 14 stoppages) as he battles American Pablo Cruz (21-3-0, 6 KOs) in a non-title bout./ASC, WDJ