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Jerwin Ancajas set for first defense against Jose Alfredo Rodriguez

Jerwin Ancajas (center, with the title belt) flanked by MP Promotions matchmaker Sean Gibbons (right).
Fighters Network

Jerwin Ancajas has an opponent for the first defense of his IBF junior bantamweight title as he’s set to face Jose Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico on Jan. 29 at Studio City Casino in Macau, China.

The news was confirmed by Ancajas’ manager/trainer Joven Jimenez, who says his fighter is deep into training in Imus, Cavite, Philippines.

“We are on the right target on his condition and weight,” Jimenez says, adding that they’ve yet to watch video of their opponent.

The 24-year-old Ancajas (25-1-1, 16 knockouts) of Panabo City, Philippines won the title in September with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo, knocking him to the canvas in the eighth round along the way.

Rodriguez (32-4, 19 KOs), a 27-year-old from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, has won three straight since stepping up to 115 pounds. His best success came at 108 pounds, where he defeated Nethra Sasiprapa of Thailand in 2011.

He then lost four of his next five fights against top opposition in Alberto Rossel, Kazuto Ioka (his lone stoppage defeat) and Milan Melindo, then dropped a decision to unheralded journeyman Valentin Leon (whose record was 36-28-3 at the time).

Rodriguez is the No. 15-ranked contender by the International Boxing Federation.

Rodriguez’s manager Jose A. Acevedo says his fighter is stronger now that he’s campaigning at 115 pounds and has been working with trainer Gil Gastelum for the past year.

“We know that this won’t be an easy fight,” Acevedo tells “I have been watching Jerwin for some time now. Remember, he fought a Puerto Rican not too long ago and I’m Puerto Rican myself.

“Jerwin is a tough fighter, fast and powerful, but, as with every fighter, there are some flaws that we can take advantage of.”

The fight will be promoted by Rejoy Group, a China-based company which also handled Johnriel Casimero’s title-winning effort against Amnat Ruenroeng in Beijing last May.

Ancajas is rated No. 9 by THE RING magazine at 115 pounds.

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.

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