Ancajas, Casimero title defenses in Vegas postponed

Roy Luarca
Ancajas, Casimero title defenses in Vegas postponed
Top Rank Promotions says the world title fights of Jerwin Ancajas and Johnriel Casimero could happen in May, as it cancels all its scheduled events in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic

MANILA, Philippines – There is a faint hope that the world title fights of Jerwin Ancajas and Johnriel Casimero would push through as scheduled, after Top Rank Promotions on Monday, March 16 (Tuesday, March 17, Philippine time) canceled all of its scheduled events in March and April

Following the move of rival Premier Boxing Champions, Top Rank, which promotes Ancajas and Japanese Naoya Inoue – who was supposed to be Casimero’s opponent in a bantamweight unification on April 25 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas – issued the following statement:

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Top Rank has postponed all events scheduled for March and April. We are monitoring the situation closely and will reschedule the shows as soon as it’s safe and reasonable to do so.

‘The health and safety of our fighters, staff and ESPN’s incredible production team is the most important thing as we plan our next steps,’ said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. ‘We look forward to the day when we can bring our loyal fans world-class boxing once again, but exercising caution is the most prudent thing to do at this moment.'”

With the latest development, MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons visited Ancajas and trainer Joven Jimenez at their condominium unit in Makati on Tuesday, and advised them to continue training until further notice at Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, for Ancajas’ ninth title defense on April 11 against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez. 

Ancajas, who, according to Jimenez, is 95% ready to defend his International Boxing Federation super flyweight crown for the ninth time against Rodriguez, spent training camp at the rest house of Big Boss Cement president Gilbert Cruz in Dipolog City before flying back to Manila on March 15 to beat the community lockdown.

Jimenez said he and Ancajas will proceed to secluded Magallanes, where there’s minimal chances of contracting the virus, early Wednesday March 18.

Casimero, who was already in Las Vegas for what was supposed to be the final phase of his training for Inoue, remained thankful the fight for his World Boxing Organization crown and Inoue’s World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation’s belts wasn’t shelved, just postponed.

Slouched in a sofa while relaxing during a lull in training at a rented apartment in Las Vegas, Casimero announced the development via YouTube with older brother Jayson in tow.

According to Casimero, he was already gearing up for war against Inoue, claiming his weight is down to 126 pounds – just 8 pounds over the division limit.

But on a lighter note, Casimero said the postponement will give him ample time to prepare for Inoue, who’s being launched by Top Rank to the global arena.

Casimero’s preparations under trainer Nonoy Neri and assistant trainer Ting Lucas Sugar are being hampered by social distancing, however, as they need to do their workouts at home.

Both Ancajas and Casimero were assured by Gibbons their respective fights would be rescheduled and could happen in May. –  

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