Filipino superfly champion Ancajas faces Japan’s Funai
by Agence France-Presse
World super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines defends his crown for the seventh time Saturday against Japan’s Ryuichi Funai, who will fight outside his homeland for the first time.
The International Boxing Federation title showdown is on a card at Stockton, California, that also finds unbeaten IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev of Russia defending against American Radivoje Kalajdzic.
Ancajas, a 27-year-old southpaw, is 30-1 with two drawn and 20 knockouts but comes into the fight off a disappointing draw last September in Oakland against Mexico’s Alejandro Santiago Barrios.
“I was hard at work three weeks after my last fight with Santiago,” Ancajas said. “I am going to be in the best shape in my upcoming fight with Funai. Coming off my last fight, I really want to give a great performance and defend my world title in style.”
Acanjas, unbeaten in 18 fights dating to 2012, won the crown in 2016 by unanimous decision from Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo and has defended three times in each of the past two years.
Funai, 33, gets his first world title bout after seven wins in a row over the past three years. He’s 31-7 with 22 knockouts.
“I am excited for this opportunity to challenge for a world title and to make my professional debut in America,” Funai said. “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’m going to fight my heart out.”
Beterbiev, 13-0 with every win by knockout, won his crown over German Enrico Koelling in November 2017 and kept it by stopping Britain’s Callum Johnson last October.
The 34-year-old Russian, seven years older than his rival, won a 2009 world title and two European titles as an amateur.
“This will be a great fight,” Beterbiev said. “I can’t wait to get in the ring and show once again why I’m the best 175-pound boxer in the world.”
Serbian-heritage fighter Kalajdzic, 24-1 with 17 knockouts, has won three in a row since losing a split decision to a highly controversial split decision loss to American Marcus Browne.