Not unexpected, just unwelcome.
Following in the footsteps of Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Ryota Murata, the planned New Year’s Eve super flyweight unification between Kazuto Ioka and Jerwin Ancajas has been officially pushed back to 2022 due to Japan’s tightened COVID protocols. Both Shisei Gym and MP Promotions released statements on the situation.
“Team Ancajas was looking forward to this historic fight against Ioka but understands there are bigger concerns than boxing in Japan and the world with the situation caused by the emergence of the latest variant,” said Sean Gibbons, president of MP Promotions. ”We remain committed to making this fight happen as soon as possible in Japan.”
It’s unclear when Japan will loosen its restrictions; Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the one-month-minimum move is a ”temporary measure until information about the Omicron variant becomes clear.” While there was theoretically still time to relocate the fight to Macau or another lucrative Asian locale, Ioka would face a lengthy quarantine period.
Beyond unifying the WBO and IBF titles, it’s a really solid matchup on its own merits, pitting the impeccable veteran Ioka against a man in Ancajas who needs to prove he belongs among the elite. Let’s hope they scrape something together soon.