Jerwin Ancajas to make sixth defense of IBF 115-pound title in Oakland
On September 28, world champion Jerwin Ancajas, 30-1-1 (20), will headline a Top Rank boxing card in Oakland, California, live on ESPN.
The Panabo City, Philippines-born Ancajas will defend his IBF world junior bantamweight title against Tijuana, Mexico’s Alejandro Santiago Barrios, 16-2-4 (7), at the home of the Golden State Warriors, the Oracle Arena, in Oakland.
The card will also feature IBF super middleweight world champ Jose Uzcategui versus Ezequiel Ozvaldo Maderna in a 10-round non-title fight.
Ancajas comes into the fight off of a unanimous decision win over fellow Filipino Jonas Sultan on May 26, in Fresno, California, a historic bout that featured the first all-Filipino world title fight since 1925.
Ancajas should draw well in the Bay Area, with a large Filipino boxing community anxious to support its fighter, who will be making the sixth defense of the IBF world title he won in the summer of 2016, in an upset victory over McJoe Arroyo.
In a recent interview, Ancajas seemed genuinely excited to make his return to the United States, where he and adviser Sean Gibbons are looking to expand his North American profile, for his third consecutive fight on U.S. soil.
“I am very excited to defend my title in Oakland in front of the great fans there and I look forward to a great challenge from Santiago,” Ancajas said. “There is a large Filipino community in Northern California, so I expect an incredible atmosphere inside the Oracle Arena.”
Ancajas was originally scheduled to fight in mid-September but daddyduty was calling, as his wife was due to give birth around that time. (Writer’s note: Ancajas and his lovely wife welcomed their beautiful daughter Jacey Kiera on September 16.)
Ancajas is a fan-friendly boxer-slugger, who has enjoyed an impressive five-fight run as champion. He is also the longest reigning champion at 115 pounds and will enter the ring for his sixth title defense in two years as champion, looking to launch bigger fights in 2019.
On paper, Ancajas should not have a huge problem with Barrios, who is in his first world title fight; however the little-known challenger will be motivated and gunning to upset the odds and pull off a life-changing win, so Ancajas can’t sleep on Barrios.
Ancajas is looking to secure the big, unification fights in the division against WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, WBA champ Khalid Yafai or former pound-for-pounder Roman Gonzalez, who is still campaigning in the junior bantamweight division. So a victory over Barrios is vital to keeping the “Pretty Boy” unification train rolling.
“Let me tell you; when the world title is on the line, everybody is gunning for that strap. There is no such thing as an easy fight at the world title level,” said Gibbons. “Barrios can box and he can also bang on the inside. When a guy is going for the world title, he is coming hard and we know Barrios is going to bring it but the plan is to be victorious, look good and stay sharp on our way to some real big fights in 2019.”