The unification bout between IBF junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and WBO titlist Kazuto Ioka was reportedly scrapped due to COVID-19 concerns, Ioka’s Shisei Boxing Gym announced Friday, Dec. 3.

Jerwin Ancajas and Kazuto Ioka (Top Rank and WBO)

This as the Japanese government implemented a stricter policy of suspending new entry of foreigners on Nov. 29, Monday, as persons contacted with the new omicron COVID-19 variants were confirmed to be in the country.

“Based on this, we decided to cancel the tournament, giving priority to strengthening infection control measures,” said Shisei, who was one of the promoters alongside MP (Manny Pacquaio) Promotions, and Knucklehead Boxing Promotions.

“In the future, we will discuss the date and time of the event again while checking the infection status, etc., in consultation with related parties.”

Shisei also apologized to the fans for the inconvenience that the decision has caused.

Local reports also confirmed the cancellation of the match which was initially set on New Year’s Eve at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

The bout was supposedly the 10th straight title defense of Ancajas since capturing the IBF title in September 2016.

Ioka, for his part, was on a mission to retain his WBO belt for the fifth consecutive time since winning it on vacant position in June 2019.

Ancajas owns a 33-1-2 win-loss-draw record on top of 22 knockouts while Ioka holds a 27-2 card with 15 KOs.

Source: Manila Bulletin (