by Nick Giongco
The San Francisco Bay Area is the leading contender to land the historic all-Filipino world title fight starring champion Jerwin Ancajas and mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan in May or June, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight titleholder’s US agent said yesterday.
Sean Gibbons said Ancajas’ fifth defense of the IBF 115-lb crown against Sultan, the first meeting involving Filipinos in a world title fight in almost a century, is being eyed to take place in the region that has a large volume of Filipino residents.
The Bay Area is made up of key California cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland as well as San Mateo, Hayward, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Concord, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Richmond, Berkeley and Daly City.
“I am hoping it lands there,” said Gibbons as Top Rank chief Bob Arum is about to finalize the date and exact location of the fight.
In the event Top Rank doesn’t get a deal in place in the Bay Area, the alternative to is to bring it to Los Angeles.
The Ancajas-Sultan battle was supposed to happen underneath the April 14 world welterweight headliner featuring Terence Crawford and Jeff Horn in Las Vegas.
But the 86-year-old Arum was forced to postpone the event after Crawford suffered a hand injury during sparring.
Ancajas is already in training camp in Magallanes, Cavite, even if the date and location have yet to be formally announced as he expects a tough defense against the upset-conscious Sultan, who fights out of the ALA Boxing Club of Cebu.
It was in San Francisco in November 2001 where Manny Pacquiao battled to a bloody draw with Agapito Sanchez of the Dominican Republic in their IBF super-bantam bout.