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."
Because of his flat performance last time out, Ancajas switched things up for this fight.
"My last fight - my sixth title defense against Alejandro Santiago Barrios – was a hard fight for me. This will be my seventh title defense. We are confident, but we respect the challenge in front of us. Funai is a good, tough fighter," Ancajas said.
"The last time I fought, I was not happy with the result. For this fight, we did some different things in training to prepare 100 percent for the challenge in front of us. We prepared for all different types of styles, which will help me adjust as the fight goes on. My sparring partners were excellent, and you will see the result of that training on Saturday night."