By Jake Donovan
The super flyweight title fight between defending champ McJoe Arroyo and mandatory challenger Jerwin Ancajas has received formal sanctioning from the International Boxing Federation (IBF), now that all parties have agreed to the proposed date and location.
As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, Sampson Boxing won the purse bid – on behalf of Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, serving as the only bidder at the hearing – with the intention of staging the fight on April 16 at Strike Coliseum in Bacoor City, Philippines.
The IBF has officially blessed the fight upon receipt of bout agreements from both camps.
“The IBF has given formal sanction approval for the IBF Jr. Bantamweight Championship mandatory defense fight between Champion McJoe Arroyo and #3, Jerwin Ancajas,” IBF Championships Chairman Lindsay Tucker informed both camps, with a copy of said approval obtained by BoxingScene.com. “The bout is scheduled for April 16, 2016 at the Strike Coliseum in Bacoor City, the Philippines.”
Arroyo (17-0, 8KOs) beat another Filipino contender to claim the title, scoring a technical decision win over Arthur Villanueva in their vacant title fight last July.
The upcoming showdown with Ancajas will mark his first title defense, which he was hoping to bring home to Puerto Rico. Such plans were once in place for a potential February 20 date, which would have served as part of a planned tripleheader to have aired on Showtime.
However, the major components of such a show – namely a hoped-for third showdown between Roman Martinez and Orlando Salido – fell through, thus putting this mandatory title fight back at square one.
Arroyo and Martinez are both promoted by Puerto Rico Boxing Best Promotions (PRBBP), whose vice president Peter Rivera informed local media of a deal being reached for the super flyweight title fight and that a date and location was being sought.
What he left out, however, was the fact that it was in the hands of another promoter. Sampson Lewkowicz was the lone bidder – serving on behalf of Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions - at a recent purse bid hearing, claiming the rights to the fight with a winning submission of $25,000.
A contract was sent out to Arroyo's team on February 12 with the aforementioned date and location indicated in said agreement. As per the terms of the purse bid, Arroyo will be entitled to the favorable end of an 85/15 split, or $21,250 USD - a larger-than-normal split due to his defending in his challenger's home country.
Ancajas (24-1-1, 16KOs) was willing at the time to travel to Puerto Rico for the chance to fight for the title, but no longer has to worry about that. Despite only due to receive $3,750 USD for the opportunity, the 24-year old southpaw will once again fight in his home country, where the majority of his career has taken place. The first-time title challenger has yet to fight outside of Asia, with his lone two road trips taking place in China.
One such occasion came in Nov. ’14, on the undercard of Pacquiao’s 12-round shutout of Chris Algieri. Ancajas scored a 3rd round knockout on the non-televised portion of the card, one of 11 consecutive victories – all by stoppage – he has racked up since suffering the lone loss of his career. That moment came in March ’12 at the hands of countryman Mark Geraldo, whom Arroyo outpointed in their Dec. ’14 to become the mandatory challenger.
Arroyo has since signed with adviser Al Haymon, who secured the rights to the vacant title fight with Villanueva and staging the event on a Showtime card last summer. It appears that his team believed the same type of magic would take place, but is officially no longer the case now that the IBF has received the necessary agreements from both camps.
The bout will take place one week before Arroyo’s twin brother, McWilliams challenges Roman Gonzalez for the World flyweight championship in the United States. The Arroyo brothers both represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Beijing Olympics before turning pro together in 2010.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox