Mexicans, Aussie in line to face Jerwin
Referee Wayne Hedgpeth raises Ancajas’ arm after he stopped Miguel Gonzalez in Mexico last month.
Mexicans, Aussie in line to face Jerwin
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It will be a busy new year for Jerwin Ancajas as prospective challengers are lining up to challenge the IBF superflyweight champion who has so far made eight successful title defenses since wresting the crown from Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo in 2016.

Ancajas, 28, has repeatedly mentioned his priority is to battle WBC counterpart Juan Francisco Estrada in a unification showdown but the Mexican may not be too keen on facing the Panabo, Davao del Norte fighter.  Besides, Estrada has serious hand issues.  In 2015, he underwent surgery to repair damage in his right hand and was sidelined for nearly a year.   Estrada has twice postponed a duel with WBA superflyweight ruler Khalid Yafai of England because of “discomfort” in his hand.  They were supposed to slug it out last Dec. 13 then the fight was moved to Jan. 31 but that has also been postponed.

IBF No. 8 contender Israel Gonzalez, whom Ancajas stopped in his fourth title defense in Corpus Christi in 2018, loomed as the next challenger after defeating No. 5 Sho Ishida on a split 12-round decision in Osaka last Dec. 28.  The bout was billed as an IBF eliminator to determine Ancajas’ mandatory challenger since no fighter is rated No. 1 or No. 2.  Romania’s Alexandru Marin, 27, is the highest ranked contender at No. 3 but backed out of fighting Ancajas last year.  Filipino Donnie Nietes is No. 4 but it’s not likely he’ll challenge his countryman.  Australian Andrew Moloney is No. 6 but wants to tangle with Yafai instead.

Mexican Jonathan (Titan) Rodriguez, who was supposed to fight Ancajas last November until visa issues intervened, is also in the queue as challenger.  Rodriguez, 24, boasts a 21-1 record, with 15 KOs and is coming off a knockout win over Felipe Orucuta who underwent brain surgery after the bout and was hospitalized for two months.

For the moment, Gonzalez appears to be leading the race in finding Ancajas’ next challenger.  Since losing to Ancajas, the 23-year-old Mexican has posted a 4-1 record, losing only to Yafai, to raise his mark to 25-3, with 11 KOs.  His burning ambition is to avenge the loss to Ancajas.

Moloney, 28, is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank which also handles Ancajas so it’s a natural for the fighters to meet.  It was recently reported that Top Rank plans to promote an Ancajas defense against Moloney in Australia but MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said if the fight pushes through, it will be in the US.  “Jerwin would love to fight Moloney any time and it would be in the US,” said Gibbons.  “But Moloney is waiting on Yafai and doesn’t want Jerwin yet.”

Moloney, nicknamed The Monster, has a 21-0 record, with 14 KOs.  His victims include Chile’s Miguel Gonzalez, whom Ancajas demolished in Mexico last month, and 11 Filipinos, including Richard Claveras, Rene Dacquel, Raymond Tabugon and Renoel Pael.

“I think the way my career has progressed is more like the old-school style,” said Moloney, quoted by James Lupton in Boxing Monthly magazine. “I went from winning the Victorian state title in Australia then won the Australian title then the Commonwealth and the WBA Oceania titles.  I progressed up the ranks in the correct order and my career has been guided by my manager Tony Tolj to perfection and we’re at a very exciting stage now where hopefully the next title will be the world title.”

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