Ancajas vs Ioka set New Year's Eve

Published November 25, 2021, 2:24 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Filipino pride Jerwin Ancajas and Japanese boxer Kazuto Ioka will put their respective belts on the line when they clash in their 115 lbs world title unification bout on New Year’s Eve at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

Jerwin Ancajas and Kazuto Ioka (Top Rank and WBO)

This marks Ancajas’ 10th title defense since capturing the IBF junior bantamweight title in September 2016 as Shisei Boxing Gym, MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions, TGB Promotions, and Knucklehead Boxing Promotions joined forces to develop the match into fruition.

Ioka, for his part, shared almost the same fate as he steps into the ring en route to maintain his WBO belt for the fifth straight time since winning it on vacant position against Filipino Aston Palicte in June 2019.

“This is my dream fight! I have waited six years for a signature fight to prove to everyone in boxing that I am one of the best 115 pounders in the world,” said Ancajas as quoted by BoxingScene.

“I have been to Japan, sparring in the past, and love the people of Japan and the boxing fans are some of the best in the world. They respect all fighters and root for the best man to win.”

Mike Coppinger of ESPN also reported that both boxers are ” in the process of finalizing a deal to unify 115-pound titles on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo.”

Meanwhile, both Joven Jimenez, Ancajas’ head trainer, and MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons welcomed the development as the 29-year-old Panabo, Davao del Norte native boxer heads into his first unification bout.

Ancajas currently has 33 wins on top of 22 knockouts, only one loss, and two draws.

Interestingly, for Ioka, the Japanese champion has not lost since fighting in his homeland back when he captured the WBO title.

Since bagging the belt, the 32-year-old Ioka, who currently holds a 27-2 record with 15 KOs rolled on to his fourth straight victory.

The Ancajas-Ioka bout is set to follow the legacy left by the fabled Filipino-Japanese rivalry between bantamweight champions Nonito Donaire and Naoya Inoue, a historic match that earned the 2019 Fight of the Year honor.