Jerwin Ancajas to defend title against Jonathan Rodriguez on Berchelt-Sosa card
Jerwin Ancajas will defend his IBF junior bantamweight title against Jonathan Rodriguez of Mexico on Nov. 2, Top Rank announced Tuesday afternoon.
The 12-round bout will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly known as Stubhub Center) in Carson, California. The fight will precede the main event bout between WBC junior lightweight titleholder Miguel Berchelt and Jason Sosa.
Both fights will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (10:30 p.m. ET/ 7:30 p.m. PT).
Nov. 2 will mark the eighth defense of Ancajas’s IBF world title. In his last bout on May 4, Ancajcas (31-1-2, 21 knockouts) successfully defended his title by stopping Ryuichi Funai of Japan after the end of the sixth round.
The 27-year-old from Cavite City in The Philippines is eager to put on an impressive performance over Rodriguez that will lead to a unification fight against any of the other world titleholders at 115 pounds.
“I am looking forward to this fight because Rodriguez brings the Mexican style to his fights, and Mexican and Filipinos make the best fights,” said Ancajas, who is co-managed by Manny Pacquiao. “It is going to be a war. I look forward to putting on a show in Carson.”
Rodriguez (21-1, 15 KOs), who resides in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, stopped two-time world title challenger Felipe Orocuta in round 10 of his last bout on June 7. Rodriguez has won his last five bouts since suffering his only loss at the hands of Jose Estrada on Mar. 1 of last year.
Ancajas may have faced the better opposition, but Rodriguez believes he has enough pedigree to pull off the upset win on Nov. 2.
“I plan on taking full advantage of this opportunity,” Rodriguez said. “Ancajas is a great champion, but my time is now. It is time for a new face at 115 pounds.”
Two preliminary fights will make up the Top Rank undercard that will be streamed live on ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT).
Fringe junior welterweight contender Javier Molina will square off against Hiroki Okada of Japan in a 10-round bout.
Molina (20-2, 8 KOs), who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk, has won his last three bouts since his losing by unanimous decision to welterweight contender Jamal James. Okada (19-1, 13 KOs), who resides in Tokyo, has not fought since losing by knockout to Ray Beltran on Feb. 10.
Alex Saucedo (28-1, 18 KOs), who was stopped by Maurice Hooker in his last bout on Nov. 16, will face gatekeeper Rod Salka (24-5, 4 KOs) of Bunola, Pennsylvania in an eight-round bout. Hooker would win the vacant WBO junior welterweight title with the win over Saucedo.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing