Jerwin Ancajas
Ashfall drives Ancajas to Dipolog
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Ashfall caused by the Taal Volcano eruption has sent IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas to relocate his training camp from Magallanes, Cavite to Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte where he will stay until it’s time to leave for his next title defense in the US in April.

Ancajas’ manager/trainer Joven Jimenez said yesterday Top Rank CEO Bob Arum will announce details of the coming fight soon. Ancajas was earlier penciled to make his ninth defense in Las Vegas on Feb. 22 but Arum has moved the fight to headline a card in April. Jimenez said formal announcement of the fight will be made by Top Rank.

It’s still a guessing game whom Ancajas will face but the likely opponent is Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez who upset No. 5 contender Sho Ishida on a split 12-round decision in an IBF eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger in Osaka last Dec. 28. If Gonzalez is tapped, it will be his second attempt to wrest the crown from Ancajas. In 2018, Ancajas stopped the Mexican in the 10th round in Corpus Christi, Texas, to post his fourth successful title defense.   

Three fights are lined up for Ancajas this year so he’ll be busy. He also fought thrice in 2018 but only twice last year. His most recent outing was in Puebla, Mexico, last Dec. 7 when he stopped Puerto Rico’s Miguel Gonzalez in the sixth round. After celebrating his 28th birthday last Jan. 1, Ancajas was back in the gym.

“Handa kami palagi ni Jerwin,” said Jimenez. “Focus lang talaga sa training at iwas sa problema.  Todo ensayo kami, focus ng husto. Sabi ni (MP Promotions head) Sir Sean (Gibbons), confirmed na ang April fight pero ang Top Rank ay mag-announce.”

Ancajas resumed training at his own Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite but when Taal Volcano erupted and ash showered its vicinity, Jimenez decided to move out. Big Boss Cement president Gilbert Cruz offered his rest house in Dipolog for the Ancajas team to set up camp. Ancajas, Jimenez and six sparmates arrived in Dipolog last Thursday. Ancajas left his family in Magallanes to train in seclusion. Ancajas’ sparmates are Daniel Lim, John Mark Alimane, Angelo Beltran, Alixes Abilar, George Nuez and Ala Alberca.

Jimenez said he’s not aware of the exact date and location of the coming fight only that it will be held in April as the main event of a Top Rank card. Jimenez said Ancajas isn’t picking any opponent and will fight anyone whom Top Rank assigns. But it’s been Ancajas’ dream to unify the 115-pound title and a unification showdown with WBC counterpart Juan Francisco Estrada is tops in his wish list. Estrada, however, has serious hand issues and may not be immediately available. A fight between Estrada and WBA champion Khalid Yafai of England has been postponed twice because of the Mexican’s hand injury. In 2015, Estrada underwent surgery to repair damage in his right hand and it appears that the hand has not healed properly.

Another possible opponent for Ancajas is Australian Andrew Moloney who is promoted by Top Rank so it’s a fight that will be easy to arrange. Moloney, 28, has a 21-0 record with 14 KOs and his list of victims includes 11 Filipinos. Arum was once quoted as mentioning a plan to stage an Ancajas defense against Moloney in Australia. “Jerwin would love to fight Moloney any time and it would be in the US,” said Gibbons.

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