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List of Articles by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT



Jerwin Ancajas: IBF 115-pound world boxing champion is ready for Thrilla in Little Manila

By Emmanuel Rivera, RRT
PhilBoxing.com
02 May 2019



Stockton, California: If Top Rank Promotions were to pick an appropriate title for their May 4th boxing extravaganza at the Stockton Arena it should be “Thrilla in Little Manila”.

A boxing renaissance for a city on the comeback trail deserves a big-time card with a commensurate title such as this.

The late friends Jack Fiske (San Francisco Chronicle) and Hermie Rivera (Philboxing.com) would have been proud of the upcoming best seller.

The following excerpts from their feature article “Little Brown Dolls: A Gallery of Filipino World Boxing Champs” may have said it best.

The author's interview with Ancajas:




“San Jose, Stockton, Bakersfield, Watsonville, Oakland Sacramento, San Francisco and Modesto became second homes for the itinerant (Filipino) boxing warriors who fought as often as once a week, usually against Mexicans and other groups of impoverished immigrants. Opportunistic promoters were eager to utilize the little men who attracted big crowds of Filipino farm laborers from the California Valley and Delta towns. Saturday night concluded a week of labor in the fields and what better recreation and release than to swarm to the local arena to cheer on a fellow countryman.” (circa 1993)

The co-main event features a deluxe IBF 115-pound championship fight between Filipino Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas, the world’s longest-reigning junior-bantamweight champion.

I could be wrong (or right), but it will be the first time two Asian fighters vie for a world crown in this town formerly known as “Fat City” (sadly the featured venue in Leonard Gardner’s 1969 novel and John Huston’s 1972 neo-noir boxing tragedy film of the same name).

Jerwin Ancajas, of Panabo City (Davao del Norte, Philippines) will be making his seventh title defense as he takes on No. 1 contender Ryuichi Funai of Tokyo, Japan.

For Jerwin Ancajas, the fight bears significant meaning due to Little Manila District’s checkered past.

Said Ancajas, “It is an honor to fight in front of Filipino-Americans in a place where extreme economic and racial divide is still present and common. I’d like to show them a good fight.”

For his coach, trainer, manager Joven Jimenez the tour they got around town was bittersweet.

Said Jimenez, “Our kababayans were our guides to the neighborhood museums depicting artifacts of the old farmers and immigrants. Life was so hard back then, but the Filipinos persevered. They were real fighters.”

In the main event, IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev, the only current world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio, will take his iron fists to California for the second defense of his title. Beterbiev, who recently signed a long-term pact with Top Rank, will face top contender Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic (Top Rank).

It is Cinco de Mayo weekend.

And what better way to get the boxing fans through the turnstiles than feature Stockton’s own rising talent in 18-year-old Stockton Gabriel Flores Jr. who will face off against Eduardo Pereira in a six-rounder.

Beterbiev-Kalajdzic, Ancajas-Funai, and Flores-Pereira will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) at 10 p.m. Eastern Time/ 7 p.m Pacific Time.

The soon-to-be announced undercard will stream live beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m.


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