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Ancajas, Sultan lead meet-and-greet event

By Nick Giongco

LOS ANGELES – Champion Jerwin Ancajas and mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan size each other up Friday (Saturday in Manila) for the first time since their first meeting more than seven weeks ago in Manila when the Filipino community rolls out the red carpet.

Ancajas, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight king, faces Sultan on May 26 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.

Before the two fighters head to Fresno, 220 kilometers to the north, Ancajas and Sultan will be on the spotlight at the Historic Filipino Town to receive awards.

Also getting recognized and getting awards include three-division champion Donnie Nietes, boxing coach Marvin Somodio and American fight agent Sean Gibbons.

Nietes is Sultan’s stablemate while Somodio is the right-hand man of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach and Gibbons was pivotal in finalizing the Ancajas-Sultan title clash, the first all-Filipino world title fight in almost a century.

Ancajas, making the fifth defense of the IBF 115-lb crown he won in 2006, will travel to Fresno on Monday morning, upbeat that Sultan will end up following the path of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Teirku Konoshita, Jamie Conlan and Israel Gonzalez.

With their respective training camps reaching its end, the two have dramatically slowed down on their gym sessions.

But Ancajas still showed up for a workout at The Rock, a facility near his hotel in Redondo Beach, while Sultan did the same thing at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.

Ancajas is heavily favored to repulse Sultan in the only second all-Filipino world title bout after Pancho Villa’s defense of the world flyweight throne against Clever Sencio at Wallace Field (now Luneta) in 1923.

Photographer Jhay Otamias, who covers the exploits of Filipino boxers fighting here and in Las Vegas, helped arrange the event that will also double as a meet-and-greet.