MANILA, Philippines – Jerwin Ancajas’ New Year’s Eve super flyweight unification with Kazuto Ioka has been postponed due to travel restrictions.
Promoters were forced to shelve the fight scheduled on December 31 at the Ota-City General Stadium in Tokyo as Japan reimposes its entry restrictions for foreigners in response to the emergence of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
After three months of training in the United States, Ancajas, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) king, was set to fly out of Los Angeles on December 11.
Ioka, Japan’s lone four-division world champion and holder of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) 115-pound belt, also just held his press conference last week announcing his fight with the Filipino southpaw.
“Team Ancajas was looking forward to this historic fight against Ioka but understands there are bigger concerns than boxing in Japan and the world with the situation caused by the emergence of the latest variant,” said Sean Gibbons, president of MP Promotions.
“We remain committed to making this fight happen as soon as possible in Japan.”
Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 knockouts) has been a champion since 2016 and has defended his title nine times in various venues in the United States, Macau, Brisbane (Australia), Belfast (United Kingdom), and Mexico.
Among those who have failed to wrest the belt away from Ancajas, who snatched it from Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo at home, are Ioka’s compatriots Teiru Kinoshita in 2017 and Ryuichi Funai in 2019.
The Filipino had expected a a tough, bruising 12-rounder against Ioka (27-2, 15 knockouts) even if the Japanese lost by split decision to Donnie Nietes in their battle for the then-vacant WBO super flyweight title in 2018. – Rappler.com