IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas has long been the odd man out in one of boxing’s best divisions, but promoter Sean Gibbons wants that to change in 2021. He tells Steve Kim that after “Pretty Boy” deals with mandatory challenger Jonathan Rodriguez, they want to face WBO champion Kazuto Ioka in a unification bout.
This is a remarkably feasible matchup and essentially the best-case scenario for a potential undisputed championship fight later this year. Top Rank’s Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 KO), who’s made eight successful defenses since taking the belt from McJoe Arroyo but failed to cross paths with any of the division’s best, won’t have the deal with the promotional hurdles standing between him and the likes of WBC champ Juan Francisco Estrada. In addition, Estrada is booked to face WBA “super” champ Roman Gonzalez on March 13th and the winner of that is obligated to defend against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai; if Ancajas fights Rodriguez and Ioka (26-2, 15 KO) stays busy with his own defense, the timing’s perfect for the IBF/WBO champ to meet the WBC/WBA champ around year’s end or in early 2022.
As far as the fight itself, Ioka would assuredly be favored. Ancajas has moments of excellence, but can be painfully inconsistent, resulting in closer-than-necessary battles with ostensibly inferior opposition. Ioka, meanwhile, looked razor-sharp in his dismantling of three-division champ Kosei Tanaka last week. Ioka is also by far the more proven of the pair against top competition.
Then again, crazier things have happened.