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Srisaket Sor Rungvisai expected to sign with DAZN; Jerwin Ancajas heads to April 6 title bout

Photo by German Villasenor
18
Jan

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, The Ring’s junior bantamweight champion, is expected sign a multi-fight deal to compete exclusively on DAZN, industry sources told The Ring.

Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41 knockouts) isn’t just the best 115-pounder in the world; he’s also one of the top fighters regardless of weight. He’s rated No. 8 by The Ring pound-for-pound. Two victories over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez followed by a decision win over Juan Francisco Estrada cemented that status.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum hoped to match Jerwin Ancajas against Rungvisai in a unification matchup on ESPN. With Rungvisai likely headed to DAZN, Top Rank is looking in another direction for Ancajas’s next title defense.

The Filipino is being lined up for an April 6 fight against mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai of Japan, sources told The Ring. Funai (31-7, 22 KOs) has reeled off seven consecutive wins since he was defeated by Sho Ishida in April 2016.

Ancajas (30-1-2, 20 KOs) has made six defenses of his IBF title, but he’s looked shaky in his two recent fights. The 27-year-old outpointed Jonas Sultan in May over 12 ho-hum rounds; he was held to a draw against fringe contender Alejandro Santiago in September.

Still, Ancajas was eager to challenge Rungvisai for The Ring title. The two fighters met in Bangkok in October after Rungvisai’s decision win over Iran Diaz.

Rungvisai’s arrival would be another coup for DAZN following Thursday’s announcement that Canelo Alvarez will defend his Ring middleweight championship against Daniel Jacobs on May 4. Rungvisai (né Wisaksil Wangek) was named The Ring’s 2017 fighter of the year after two wins over Gonzalez, who was the universally recognized pound-for-pound king entering their first meeting.

Rungvisai’s decision victory over Chocolatito was controversial, but he left no doubt in the rematch with a spectacular fourth-round KO. Most of the top 115-pounders are network free agents, so there’s some intriguing options for the 32-year-old on DAZN even when you consider boxing politics.

Besides a rematch with Estrada and a unification matchup with Khalid Yafai (who’s promoted by Eddie Hearn and fights on DAZN), there’s a wealth of intriguing matchups for Rungvisai if he moves up to 118 pounds. The World Boxing Super Series is playing out right now on DAZN. Naoya Inoue (rated No. 6 pound-for-pound by The Ring) is the front-runner to win the tourney.

A fight between Rungvisai and Inoue is one of the most mouth-watering matchups you can make. Simply a dream at the moment, but maybe not too far off.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

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