Prior to his September defense against mandatory challenger Francisco Rodriguez Jr., WBO super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka expressed his desire to unify with IBF champ Jerwin Ancajas. It looks like he’ll get his wish, as Mike Coppinger reports that the two are “finalizing a deal” to square off on one of Japan’s annual New Year’s Eve cards.
MP Promotions’ Sean Gibbons has been working on this for a while, so this could be a much-needed dub for him after the Donaire-Casimero debacle.
Four-division titlist Ioka (27-2, 15 KO) is 13-1 since a 2014 loss to Amnat Ruenrong, the only blemish a narrow one to Donnie Nietes. He’s made three successful title defenses since stopping Aston Palicte for his current belt, including an impressive finish of Kosei Tanaka and a tough decision over the aforementioned Rodriguez.
Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 KO) has had by far the weakest schedule of any 115-pound titlist during his five-year reign, largely fighting mid-tier opposition while the rest of the elites duked it out amongst themselves. He did put on a hell of a show against Jonathan Rodriguez in April, though, and he’s stepping up to the plate here.
Between this fight and the Estrada-Chocolatito trilogy, the stage is set for an undisputed title fight in 2022. Let’s hope it happens and that this bout gets a U.S. broadcast partner.