Sports

Ancajas unification fight vs Ioka in Japan postponed to 2022 due to Omicron


Japanese boxer Kazuto Ioka (left) and Filipino champion Jerwin Ancajas.

Japanese boxer Kazuto Ioka (left) and Filipino champion Jerwin Ancajas.

MANILA, Philippines—The super flyweight title unification bout between Jerwin Ancajas and Kazuto Ioka has been postponed to 2022 after Japan closed its borders to foreign travel due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Ancajas, the IBF champion, and Ioka, who holds the WBO strap, were supposed to fight on New Year’s Eve at Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo.

MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons said both camps are still committed to push through with the fight in Japan, albeit at a later date.

“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 Gibbons.

“We remain committed to making this fight happen as soon as possible in Japan.”

This isn’t the first time that a fight featuring Ancajas (33-1-2) was delayed as his previous title defense against Jonathan Rodriguez was postponed twice.

Ancajas originally was set to face Rodriguez for his ninth title defense in November 19 in the United States but the Mexican fighter ran into visa problems resulting to the fight getting pushed to April 2020.

That second date, however, was again pushed back due to COVID-19 and the Panabo City native was only able to defend his championship on April 2021 via unanimous decision.

Ancajas is carrying a three-fight winning streak and is unbeaten in 21 straight bouts while Ioka (27-2) won 13 of his previous 14 matches with the lone loss coming against Donnie Nietes on December 31, 2018.

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