Ancajas, Casimero continue training as fate of title defenses in U.S. unclear

Roy Luarca
Ancajas, Casimero continue training as fate of title defenses in U.S. unclear
Filipino boxing champions Jerwin Ancajas and Johnriel Casimero are set to defend their world titles in the United States in April

MANILA, Philippines – As the fate of their title fights in April hangs in the balance, life goes on for Filipino world champions Jerwin Ancajas and Johnriel Casimero.

Ancajas is holed up in a Makati City condominium with trainer Joven Jimenez as they wait for the signal to proceed to Las Vegas for Ancajas’ ninth defense of the IBF super flyweight belt against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez on April 11 (April 12, Manila time) at the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino.

Casimero and trainer Nonoy Neri, meanwhile, arrived in Las Vegas from Miami, Florida, for the final buildup of his bantamweight unification collision with Japanese Naoya Inoue on April 25 at the Mandalay Events Center.

They will have to wait until March 25, when the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) decides on whether to allow scheduled combat sport events to proceed or not due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, the commission has suspended events set until March 25.

According to Jimenez, they are continuing training at their condo unit or at a nearby park for Ancajas to maintain the sharp form he attained during a two-month training camp at the rest house of Big Boss Cement president Gilbert Cruz in Dipolog City.

Jimenez said they were visited by MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons on Monday, March 16, to find out how they are coping with the community quarantine imposed in Metro Manila.

According to Jimenez, Gibbons even joined them in their training session.

Scheduled to fly to Las Vegas either March 18 or March 20, Ancajas and Jimenez were advised by Gibbons to stay put, while the international matchmaker awaits a definite ruling from the NAC.

After a month of physical conditioning with Mexican Memo Heredia and gym training with noted Cuban coach Pedro Roque in Miami, Casimero got reunited with Neri, who will be the guy in charge in Las Vegas.

Casimero has been tagged as the huge underdog against Inoue, who will be dangling the WBA and IBF crowns in a much-awaited encounter between power-punching three-division world champions.

Other options being considered for Las Vegas fight cards are to move them to later dates or stage them behind closed doors or even at television studios, with TV commercials expected to compensate for the losses in gate receipts. – Rappler.com

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