Junior bantamweight world titleholder Jerwin Ancajas has held his belt for more than two years — longer than any other titlist in the division — and made six successful defenses, but so far the unification fight he wants has eluded him.
But there is a glimmer of hope that one can happen in the not-too-distant future. Ancajas, a 26-year-old southpaw co-promoted by Manny Pacquiao, traveled from his home in the Philippines to Bangkok, Thailand, to be ringside at Impact Arena for Thai national hero Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s junior bantamweight title defense on Saturday.
Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 40 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw, retained his version of the 115-pound world title for the third time in his second title reign as he cruised to a one-sided victory over Mexico’s Iran Diaz, winning by scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109.
After the bout, Ancajas (30-1-2, 20 KOs) joined Sor Rungvisai in the ring to set the stage for a possible unification fight. Ancajas has defended his title in China, Australia, Northern Ireland and three times in the United States. He said he would have no problem fighting in Thailand or wherever a unification fight with Sor Rungvisai could be made.
“I came to Thailand Saturday night to watch with my own eyes the champion from Thailand fight,” Ancajas said. “I liked what I saw. He is my style. I would be the matador versus the bull. He comes right at you and wants to trade big punches. I do not like fighters that move a lot so Sor Rungvisai is the perfect fight for me.
“I have been waiting a long time for a fight like this. I spoke to my promoters Joven Sports, Manny Pacquiao and Mr. Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing and told them please get me this fight next.”
Sean Gibbons, Ancajas’ agent, said the whole Ancajas team is game for the unification bout.
“Jerwin is looking to fight the best,” Gibbons said. “He wants a signature fight. He watched the champ from ringside Saturday night and loves the fight. I love the battle of champion versus champion. Boxing is about styles and this fight is perfect for Jerwin. Someone is getting knocked out.”
Ancajas has not had the chance to face high-profile opponents and he is coming off a hard-fought split draw against Alejandro Santiago on Sept. 28 in Oakland, California, on a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card.
Sor Rungvisai, who has said time and again that he is willing to fight the top opponents, has had major fights, including a March 2017 fight of the year contender in which he won a bloody slugfest by controversial majority decision to take the belt from then-undefeated pound-for-pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez at Madison Square Garden in New York on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs undercard.
As an encore, Sor Rungvisai brutally knocked out Gonzalez in the fourth round of an immediate rematch in September 2017 in Carson, California. He scored a third significant win in a row in the United States when he retained his belt by an action-packed majority decision over Juan Francisco Estrada in February before opting to return home for his past two bouts.
Bank Thainchai Pisitwuttinan of Nakornloung Promotion, which represents Sor Rungvisai, said their team is also interested in the unification fight.
“I think it would be a great fight,” he said. “As of right now we do not know the future on what would be the next fight for Srisaket. (Ancajas) would be a great fight for sure. We would like to have lots of great fights to create history for Thailand but it would be very interesting. I’d like to thank them for flying all the way from the Philippines. Mr. Sean Gibbons flew from the U.S. to be here with us. It’s a great honor for us to see them and to have them with us at the event.”