When it rains, it pours. And Filipinos are only beginning to feel the growing heat of the coming summer.
But we are talking of boxing as Filipino fighters are set to see action in four world title bouts in the next less than two months. Never in the past had Pinoy fighters been given such bountiful opportunity in such a short span of time with more than four world boxing titles at stake.
Early in April, two Filipino fighters will enter the ring, thousands of miles and a week apart as Giemel Magramo tries to win another world title in Japan while Jerwin Ancajas defends his in the United States.
On April 4, 2020 Magramo will take on emerging Japanese undefeated boxing star Junto Nakatani (20-0-0, 15 KOs) at the now historic Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan for the vacant WBO world flyweight crown. The title was vacated by Kosei Tanaka who is aiming to win another world belt at super flyweight versus countryman Kazuto Ioka, the WBO defending champion.
Giemel (24-1, 20 KOs ) will also be aiming to become the first of the three generations of the revered Magramo boxing clan to finally win a legitimate major world championship as his uncle, Ronnie, just won a minor WBF belt back in the 90s. The Magramo patriarch, Ric reigned two times as Philippine flyweight champion but never gone past fighting for the Oriental belt in the 60s.
Nakatani is coming off back to back stoppage wins over Filipinos Philip Luis Cuerdo and former world titlist Milan Melindo in 2019 after winning the Japanese national flyweight title.
A week later on April 11, 2020, on the other side of the Pacific, Ancajas will make his ninth defense of his IBF super flyweight title against Mexico’s Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1, 14 KOs ) at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada as main event of a Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotion fight card.
Jerwin (32-1-2, 22 KOs) is the Philippines longest continuously reigning world champion, first winning his title in 2016 against McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico in Metro Manila. He was originally set to defend against the same Rodriguez late last year but the Mexican pulled out due to alleged training injury and Jerwin instead defended against Chile’s Miguel Gonzales whom he defeated by technical knockout.
With the recent defeat of UK’s Khalid Yafai who lost his WBA crown to former WBC titlist Roman Chocolatito Gonzales just this weekend, Jerwin is also now the most senior of the reigning world super flyweight champions in terms of tenure.
Exactly two weeks later, on April 25, 2020 also in Las Vegas, Nevada, Johnriel Casimero will take on Japanese fighting legend Naoya Inoue in their much awaited major US debut with his WBO and Inoue’s WBA, IBF and Ring Magazine lineal world bantamweight titles at stake.
Casimero (29-4-0, 22 KOs) won the WBO title by shock two rounds stoppage of the erstwhile highly regarded South African defending champion Zolani Tete in Birmingham, UK last November.
Inoue (19-0-0, 16 KOs) on the other hand outpointed Nonito Donaire in their hard fought World Boxing Super Series bantamweight finals in Saitama, Japan also last November to add the WBA super belt to his WBA regular and IBF titles and win the Ring Magazine lineal championship belt.
Three weeks later, on May 16, 2020, Nonito Donaire will take on French Algerian WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali in a title bout to be carried on television by Showtime in a fight venue still to be determined in the US West Coast.
The winner of the fight to be promoted by Tom G Brown will most likely be pitted against the winner of the Casimero-Inoue unification bout.
Donaire (40-6-0, 26 KOs) will be aiming for a third world title reign in the bantamweight while Oubaali (17-0-0, 12 KOs) will be looking to retain his title after previously repulsing the challenges of Filipino Arthur Villanueva and Japanese Takuma Unoue, Naoya’s younger brother.