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Ancajas eyes Ioka unification

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JERWIN Ancajas seeks to make his tenth title defense via a unification clash with Kazuto Ioka. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BOXINGSCENE.COM

MP Promotions chief Sean Gibbons is moving heaven and earth to book Jerwin Ancajas a slot on a massive New Year’s Eve card in Japan.

Ancajas has been training in the United States since September in preparation for the tenth defense of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight crown, but hasn’t gotten a deal for an American appearance.

Last time Ancajas fought was in April in Uncasville, Connecticut where he weathered the fierce and furious Mexican challenger Jonathan Rodriguez in an intense 12-rounder.

“Possible for December 31st,” Gibbons told Daily Tribune from Los Angeles where Ancajas is training.

Japan traditionally stages two major shows just before the end of the year featuring some of its world champions defending against challengers from overseas, an event that has been participated in by Filipino fighters.

Ancajas, a hard-hitting southpaw, is eyeing a unification clash with four-division champion Kazuto Ioka, the World Boxing Organization ruler in the 115-lb class.

Ancajas is one of boxing’s longest-reigning world champions, having captured the IBF plum since September 2016 and defended it all over the world.

Since beating McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico for the title, Ancajas has fought and defended in the United States five times and once each in Australia, Macau, Northern Ireland and Mexico.

Ancajas sports a 33-1-2 record with 22 knockouts while Ioka, 32, holds a 27-2 mark with 15 knockouts.

Since winning the crown, Ancajas also beat Mexicans Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Israel Gonzalez, Japanese Ryuichi Funai and Teiru Nikoshita, Filipino Jonas Sultan, Irish Jamie Conlan, Chilean Miguel Gonzalez and drew with Mexican Alejandro Santiago.

He is one of five reigning Filipino world champions and one of MP Promotions’ top talents.

Apart from Ancajas, the other world champions are Nonito Donaire, John Riel Casimero, Vic Saludar and Rene Cuarto.

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