by Nick Giongco
When it finally dawned on them that they are on a collision course for April 14 in Las Vegas, champion Jerwin Ancajas and mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan expressed the same sentiment yesterday when told about their International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title fight.
For Ancajas and Sultan, their scheduled 12-rounder at Mandalay Bay is just work and nothing else.
“Trabaho lang ito, walang personalan,” said Ancajas, who will make the fifth defense of the IBF 115-lb crown in his first fight in Las Vegas.
Sultan, who earned the title shot after upsetting ex-world champion John Riel Casimero last year, shares the same observation.
“Wala naman kaming magagawa,” said Sultan, who is holed up at the ALA Boxing headquarters in Cebu City.
Still, Sultan admits that it is awkward to see two Filipinos vying for a world title.
“Sayang din naman,” he added.
But while Ancajas and Sultan, both 26, appear and sound cordial toward each other, that won’t be the case when they lock horns in a month from now.
Ancajas, who defended the title thrice in 2017, is coming off a sensational tenth-round stoppage of Israel Gonzalez of Mexico in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Under the watchful eyes of fast-rising trainer Joven Jimenez, the southpaw Ancajas is training regularly in Magallanes, Cavite.
Sean Gibbons, Ancajas’ US agent, was expected to plane in last night from the US to have key documents signed and to map out the schedule of the country’s newest ring hero.
Over at Top Rank’s main office in Sin City, Arum is raring to showcase Ancajas once again before the highly-discriminating US audience.
“He’s a very special fighter and is becoming extremely popular,” said Arum.
Ancajas has 29-1-1 win-loss-draw record with 20 Kos while Sultan has a 14-3 slate with nine KOs.
Ancajas had won the IBF title by beating Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo in Taguig in Sept. 2016.
In 2017, Ancajas retained the title by halting Jose Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico in Macau, Teiru Kinoshita of Japan in Australia and Jamie Conlan of Northern Ireland in Belfast.
For his exploits, the Philippine Sportswriters Association voted Ancajas as Athlete of the Year for 2017.