by Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #2 Jerwin Ancajas vs. Jonas Sultan (Saturday, ESPN+, 9:30 PM EST)
A busy weekend for the new ESPN+ app got off to a roaring start with Naoya Inoue’s debut at 118 lbs. against Jamie McDonnell. Saturday, the spotlight focuses on the division he just left behind. Even without Inoue, 115 lbs. is still loaded.
Ancajas (29-1-1, 20 KO) defends his IBF share of the Jr. bantamweight crown against a fellow Filipino in Sultan (14-3, 9 KO). It’s a rare all-Filipino world title clash but the stakes are bigger than this fight. If Ancajas wins, he may face WBA titlist and Olympian Khalid Yafai (23-0, 14 KO) of the UK next.
Yafai, rated #3 by TBRB, defends on the undercard against former title challenger David Carmona (21-5-5, 9 KO). Carmona took Inoue the distance, and nearly upset former titlist Carlos Cuadras, before suffering a shocking stoppage against Daniel Lozano. Carmona stopped a three-fight losing streak last out but a loss here may mean a long time before another title shot.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Saturday – FS1 (9 PM EST): Ramirez vs. Mendez
Lightweight Eddie Ramirez (17-1, 11 KO) was a prospect on the rise, felled in one round last time out by former lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco. It was a bad loss but he can begin to get back on track with another former beltholder here. Argenis Mendez (24-5-1, 12 KO) defeated Ivan Redkach in his last outing after consecutive defeats to Robert Easter and Luke Campbell. The veteran needs a win every bit as bad as Ramirez.
Saturday – AYM (11 PM EST): Lozada & Soto
BoxRec says lightweight Antonio Lozada Jr. (39-2, 33 KO) is facing Christian Velarde (13-5, 4 KO) in his first fight since upsetting undefeated Felix Verdejo his last time out. It also lists former titlist Humberto Soto (66-9-2, 36 KO) as facing Joel Juarez (32-29-2, 28 KO). However, the TV listing for those who have the AYM network says Lozada and Soto are slated to face each other. Hope the latter proves correct. It would be the best possible fight.
Saturday – TyC (11 PM EST): Melian vs. Sosa
28-year old two-time Argentine Olympian is being moved with some hurry to him. In only his third pro start, the Jr. featherweight Melian (2-0, 2 KO) faces undefeated Sergio Sosa (10-0, 3 KO). Pay attention because Melian is already fighting for an IBF regional title, a precursor to being rated down the road. Melian’s debuted against a 23-2 professional and followed that with against a 32-8 foe. Neither opponent was a world beater but Melian clearly is being handled like a fighter with trajectory.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]