Jerwin Ancajas vs. Jonathan Rodriguez fight canceled due to visa issues
Jerwin Ancajas’ eighth defense of the IBF junior bantamweight title will have to wait after his opponent Jonathan Rodriguez was unable to make it to the United States in time due to visa issues.
The news was announced Thursday evening, two days before fight night, as Rodriguez was still in Mexico and unable to make it to Carson, Calif. for what would have been his U.S. debut.
Instead, the Javier Molina vs. Hiroki Okada junior welterweight fight has been elevated to the co-feature slot on ESPN, underneath the Miguel Berchelt vs. Jason Sosa WBC junior lightweight title fight at the Dignity Health Sports Park, a Top Rank press release announced.
Sean Gibbons, matchmaker for MP Promotions, says that he began working on Rodriguez’s visa a month ago, “the process took a little longer, there was a missed appointment in Mexico City, we had to go to Monterrey.” Gibbons says that the visa was finally issued at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, but it left insufficient time to finish Rodriguez’s medical requirements. By that time, Rodriguez wasn’t feeling well after criss-crossing Mexico to secure his visa.
Now, Gibbons says Ancajas will fight on December 7 at a location to be determined, and is hoping to have all of the prerequisites completed in time to finally have Ancajas face Rodriguez.
“Probably God has better plans for us, that’s why the fight did not push through again,” Ancajas (31-1-2, 21 knockouts) wrote on his Facebook.
“Working on it,” added Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti, when asked when Ancajas’ next fight would be.
Ancajas, 27, of Panabo City, Philippines last fought in May, stopping Ryuichi Funai after six rounds. He had hoped a strong performance against Rodriguez (21-1, 15 KOs) would build demand for a showdown against The Ring junior bantamweight champ Juan Francisco Estrada, and says he had trained four months to prepare for this fight.
Gibbons says Ancajas will remain in the U.S. and continue training in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and could help out his countrymen John Riel Casimero and Marlon Tapales, who are scheduled to face southpaw boxers Zolani Tete and Ryosuke Iwasa, respectively.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected]