by Nick GiongcoJerwin Ancajas puts not only his world super-flyweight crown on the line but his 18-fight winning streak as well when he meets Japanese mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai on May 4 at the 12,000-seater Stockton Arena in California.
Making the seventh defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) 115-lb title for the seventh time, Ancajas (30-1-2 with 20 KOs) is the talent-rich division’s most active and longest champion, defending the championship thrice each in 2017 and 2018 after winning it in 2016.
The Filipino southpaw is up against a formidable foe in Funai (31-7-2 with 22 KOs), who has racked up seven straight wins. Ancajas is itching to regain his knockout ways after going the distance in his last two outings, a points win over compatriot Jonas Sultan in Fresno and a split draw against Mexican Alejandro Santiago in Oakland.
But Funai, a native of Tokyo, is eyeing a US debut that will be unforgettable.
“I know I have the experience and the skills to become the new IBF champion of the world. Jerwin and I respect one another, but this is boxing, and I am going to fight my heart out,” said the 33-year Funai, older by six years.