Ancajas in career-defining fight Defends IBF super fly title vs Mexican challenger in US debut today
Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - February 4, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Filipino world boxing champion Jerwin Ancajas has been dubbed by the venerable Top Rank promoter Bob Arum as the 'next Manny Pacquiao.'

Ancajas will try to prove he is worthy of such lofty billing when he defends his IBF super flyweight belt against Mexican challenger Israel Gonzalez in his United States debut today at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Both fighters easily made weight during the official weigh-in yesterday, signifying their readiness to trade blows in a scheduled 12-rounder.

Ancajas is being groomed by Arum as Pacquio's successor but the 26-year-old ring artisan from Panabo City said he doesn't think much about it as he is focused on the task at hand.

“I’m compared a lot to Sir Manny (Pacquiao) but he’s a legend and I’m just trying to do what he wants me to do. I’m fighting for my country and I hope to bring the championship back home,” said Ancajas in a one-on-one interview by Top Rank reporter Crystina Poncher as reported by The Philippine Star's Joaquin Henson on philboxing.com.

Tension arose during the mandatory staredown when Ancajas and Gonzales nearly bumped heads.

But Ancajas is unfazed by the Mexican's antics.

“I’m not afraid of him. He thought he could psych me out. I showed him I’m not backing off,” said Ancajas in the same report by Henson. “I’m ready for him. His body is like (Teiru) Kinoshita and (Jamie) Conlan. I’m sure it will be an exciting fight.”

Ancajas holds a 28-1-1 record packed with 19KOs, while Gonzalez lost only once in 22 career bouts but has only eight knockouts.

Ancajas will make the fourth defense of the IBF title he seized with a 12-round unanimous decision win over the erstwhile Puerto Rican champion McJoe Arroyo on September 3, 2016 in Taguig. He kept his throne three times with impressive victories over Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in Macau, Teiru Konashita in Brisbane, Australia and Jaime Conlan in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Gonzalez, on the other hand, in on a eight-fight winning roll since suffering his first and only career defeat by decision at the hands of his fellow countryman Argi Cortes on April 2, 2016.

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