by Nick Giongco
Jerwin Ancajas is now in Stockton, California, where on May 4, the Filipino southpaw makes the seventh defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight crown.
Out to put a stop to his stranglehold of the IBF 115-lb crown is mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai, who will try to do so in a city that once hosted the biggest population of Filipinos in the US.
Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. is staging the Ancajas-Funai battle at the Stockton Arena, which accommodate 12,000.
Before flying to San Francisco, where Ancajas and his lead trainer Joven Jimenez, were picked up and brought to Stockton, some 85 miles from the heart of the Bay Area, the fighter was given a sendoff by the Philippine Navy.
A reservist in the Navy, Ancajas trained for two months at the Gregorio Lim Marine Base in Ternate, Cavite.
This will be Ancajas’ first defense in 2019 after taking on three challengers — Mexicans Israel Gonzalez and Alejandro Santiago and Filipino Jonas Sultan — last year, all on American soil.
After beating McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico in Sept. 2016 to win the crown, Ancajas repulsed three challengers in 2017.
Sean Gibbons, the right-hand man of Manny Pacquiao, and Ancajas’ US representative, will plane in on May 1 as he is busy attending to the needs of Pacquiao.