By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
By the time the Philippines is near to wrapping up its hosting assignments and campaigns for the overall championship in the forthcoming Manila South East Asian Games, two Filipinos will be fighting for world boxing honors, more than 2,500 miles apart on December 7, 2019 (December 8, in the Philippines, Immaculate Concepcion Day).
International Boxing Federation super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas makes the eighth defense of his world title against Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzales in Puebla, in southern Mexico. Though the odds would most likely be in favor Jerwin, it will be his first fight in Mexico and the challenge will be on him to adjust to the climate and the environment.
Meanwhile former World Boxing Organization bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales will tangle with Japanese former IBF super bantamweight titleholder Ryosuke Iwasa for the IBF interim belt in the 122 lbs. weight division at the Barclay Center, Brooklyn, USA.
The Ancajas vs. Gonzales bout is the chief support to the main event bout featuring WBO super bantamweight champion Emmanuel Navarette who will be defending his title against fellow Mexican Francisco Horta. Navarette will be on his fourth fight this year, all in defense of his world title. He has previously turned back the challenge of ex champion Isaac Dogboe, Francisco de Vaca and Juan Miguel Elorde, all via the short route.
Ancajas on the other hand, will be seeing only in his second fight this year following a TKO win over Ryuichi Funai in his seventh title defense.
The Tapales-Iwasa bout will be the main support to the fight between Jermall Charlo and Irish Australian Dennis Hogan in Charlo’s second defense of his WBC middleweight regular title. Also on tap is the bout between IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank, Jr. and rated Russian Matt Korobov for the WBA interim middleweight title. Eubank is returning to the 160 lbs. class in a bid to win another world title there, though just interim also in status.
It will only be Tapales fourth fight at 122 lbs after vacating his WBO bantamweight title when he failed to meet the 118 lbs limit in a supposed title defense against Shohei Omori whom he knocked out laying to waste the Japanese bid as the only fighter between them with the chance to win the title had he prevailed. Marlon had kayoed the same Japanese earlier in an OPBF title fight before wresting the WBO crown by KO over Thai Pungluang Sor Singyu in Thailand.
Tapales won his previous assignments at his new weight class impressively, all via the short route prompting the IBF to pit him for the interim title against Iwasa who previously won the regular belt from fellow Japanese Yukinori Oguni before losing it to TJ Doheny this year after a single successful title defense versus Filipino Ernesto Saulong.
Doheny recently lost the IBF title to Danny Roman who added the same to the WBA belt he has held since 2017.
The IBF decided on the Tapales-Iwasa fight for the interim belt as a fallback should Roman decide to continue to prioritize his WBA belt or move up to vie for the WBC featherweight super title vacated recently by Leo Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz will vie for the WBA super featherweight super title left by Tank Davis who has moved up to the lightweights.
Also on December 7, the country’s lone world rated super featherweight fighter Joe Noynay will make the second defense of his WBO Asia Pacific title against one time world title participant Konichi Ogawa in Japan. Ogawa had his IBF title winning TKO over American Tevin Farmer in 2017 overturned due to PED issue. Noynay is aiming to extend his winning streak against Japanese fighters in Japan.
The biggest fight on the same date however will be the awaited rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz for majority of the world titles in the heavyweight division, set in Saudi Arabia which much of the boxing world will tune in to as carried through the DAZN platform.