By Nick Giongco, Mb.com.ph
It will be a hectic first two months for Filipino boxers in 2018.
First to take the floor is US-based Mercito Gesta (31-1-2 with 17 KOs), who challenges Venezuelan Jorge Linares (43-3 with 27 KOs) for the World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight title on Jan, 27 at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Exactly a week later, 1,500 miles away in Corpus Christi, Texas, defending champion Jerwin Ancajas (28-1-1 with 19 KOs) risks his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight crown for the fourth time against Israel Gonzalez (21-1 with eight KOs) of Mexico.
Then it will be the turn of Fil-Am Brian Viloria (38-5 with 23 KOs) to step up to the plate when he battles Ukrainian Artem Dalakian (15-0 with 11 KOs) for the vacant WBA flyweight title three weeks later on Feb. 24 at the Forum where a huge show is being put up by Tom Loefller of K2 Promotions featuring some of world’s top super-flyweights under one roof.
As for Manny Pacquiao, he is being eyed to resurface in April most probably in the US after Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum confirmed that the eight-division champion wants to fight again.
But among the three fighting in 2018, the main focus is on Ancajas, who will make his US debut under Arum’s Top Rank Inc. at the 10,000-capacity American Bank Center as the main supporting bout.
If victorious, Arum will provide two more fights as per the deal the two parties signed recently. And if Ancajas continues to win, Top Rank will extend his contract until 2019.