Jerwin Ancajas
Jerwin, John Riel fights postponed
Dino Maragay (The Philippine Star) - March 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino world champions Jerwin Ancajas and John Riel Casimero will have to wait longer for their title fights to take place after Top Rank Inc. put all its plans on hold because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Top Rank yesterday announced the postponement of its boxing events for March and April. 

“The health and safety of our fighters, staff and ESPN’s incredible production team is the most important thing as we plan our next steps,” Top Rank boss Bob Arum said.

Ancajas and Casimero have fights lined up next month.

Ancajas, the IBF super-flyweight champion, was supposed to face Jonathan Rodriguez of Mexico at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on April 12 (Manila time).

Casimero was scheduled for a unification fight against Japanese star Naoya Inoue at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on April 26.

Ancajas holds the WBO bantamweight title while Inoue carries the IBF and WBA titles.

Casimero is trying to keep his focus on the showdown with the Japanese star.

“It’s only postponed and not cancelled. There will still be a unified champion in the bantamweight division this year in the name of John Riel Casimero. I will keep my A game up until the fight takes place,” he said on Twitter.

Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions said Casimero has no plans coming home until the fight is held.

“No. He will stay in Las Vegas and train. He will be in amazing shape by May or June. Anything is possible. We need to see in the next 15 days minimum or 30 before making any decision,” Gibbons told The STAR yesterday.

Ancajas (32-1, 22 KOs) saw action last December, stopping Mexico’s Miguel Gonzalez in his eighth title defense.

Meanwhile, Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) is coming off a similarly impressive win over South African Zolani Tete, whom he knocked out in the third round of their showdown last November.

The two Filipino pugs belong to Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, which is co-promoting them with Top Rank.

Top Rank previously mulled holding the fights behind closed doors.

Now, the bouts are on hold.

“We look forward to the day when we can bring our loyal fans world-class boxing again, but exercising caution is the most prudent thing to do at this moment,” said Arum.

JERWIN ANCAJAS
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