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Ancajas risks 18-fight win streak

By Nick Giongco

Jerwin Ancajas puts not only his world super-flyweight crown on the line but his 18-fight winning streak as well when he meets Japanese mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai on May 4 at the 12,000-seater Stockton Arena in California.

Making the seventh defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) 115-lb title for the seventh time, Ancajas (30-1-2 with 20 KOs) is the talent-rich division’s most active and longest champion, defending the championship thrice apiece in 2017 and 2018 after winning it in 2016.

The Filipino southpaw is up against a formidable foe in Funai (31-7-2 with 22 KOs), who has racked up seven straight wins, but is itching to regain his knockout ways after going the distance in his last two outings, a points win over compatriot Jonas Sultan in Fresno and a split draw against Mexican Alejandro Santiago in Oakland.

But Funai, a native of Tokyo, is eyeing a US debut that will be unforgettable.

“I know I have the experience and the skills to become the new IBF champion of the world. Jerwin and I respect one another, but this is boxing, and I am going to fight my heart out,” said the 33-year Funai, older by six years.

Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. is staging the Ancajas-Funai clash that will serve as the main supporting bout of a card being headlined by another world title bout.

Currently, Ancajas is training under Joven Jimenez in Magallanes, Cavite, and intends to head to the US 12 days before the Funai duel in the California city that was home to one of the earliest Filipino migrants on American soil.

Ancajas is one of Top Rank’s main attractions after a multi-fight deal was forged with the Las Vegas outfit with the help of Sean Gibbons, now the right-hand man of Manny Pacquiao.

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