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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson

Navy welcomes Ancajas

By Joaquin Henson
01 Oct 2018

OAKLAND. When IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas stepped out of the NAIA 1 Terminal this morning, he was welcomed by officers of the Philippine Navy band in a hero’s reception. Ancajas and his traveling party arrived on a PAL flight from San Francisco at 6 a.m.

Ancajas’ trainer Joven Jimenez, a former Navy boxing coach, wore a Navy T-shirt while working his corner against Alejandro Santiago at the Oracle Arena here Friday night. Ancajas retained the IBF crown on a split 12-round draw. Ancajas’ other cornermen Delfin Boholst and Bobby Jalnaiz also wore Navy T-shirts.

“We thought of using ‘In The Navy’ as Jerwin’s entrance song,” said Jimenez in Pilipino. “That would’ve even made more of an impact with the Navy. But it was later decided to use ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC.”

Ancajas entered the ring wearing a Navy cap and a Golden State Warriors jersey, Steph Curry’s No. 30. It brought the house down since the Oracle Arena is the Warriors’ home building. The jersey was a gift from Boholst’s uncle. “We were really thinking of buying a Warriors jersey,” said Jimenez. “Then, we got the gift from Delfin’s uncle. We knew the crowd would be a mix of Filipino, Mexican and American fans. We wanted to win the American crowd over with the Warriors’ jersey.”

Jimenez said there were several lessons to learn from the Oracle experience. “First, we have to know how to take care of a smaller opponent like Santiago who’ll counter and strike once then move out,” he said. “Jerwin has a hard time against smaller opponents even in sparring. It’s easier for him to handle a taller opponent. The fight against Santiago was tactical. Jerwin started aggressive and Santiago countered. In the fifth round, I wanted Jerwin to throw more combinations. But it wasn’t working because Santiago would counter Jerwin’s jab then run. So I thought of another strategy. Starting the sixth round, I told Jerwin to counterpunch and let Santiago be the aggressor. When we adjusted, it took Santiago two rounds to try something different which was to become more aggressive. That was to Jerwin’s advantage.”

Jimenez said in the homestretch, Ancajas dominated with his right jab and left straight. In the 11th round, Ancajas turned away after he was butted but battled right back. He was pushed down and referee Lou Moret ruled a slip late in that round. Ancajas described Santiago as a stylist. Jimenez said Santiago will never become a world champion because of his style.

“As a challenger, you have to take the fight to the champion and win rounds convincingly,” said Jimenez. “Look at Santiago’s record and you’ll find five draws. It’s because of his style. He will throw one punch at a time then move out. It throws off the opponent’s timing but it won’t win rounds for Santiago.”

Ancajas said he’ll work on his balance and timing. Jimenez said they’ll study the tape of the fight and break down what could’ve been done better. Ancajas admitted he was careful not to be countered by a solid shot from Santiago and it kept him on guard.

“I felt Jerwin was pressured into going for a knockout,” said Jimenez. “Everybody wanted him to score an impressive win. So in the first few rounds, he didn’t box like he should’ve and Santiago scored with counters. I told Jerwin to fight his fight, not to think about a knockout. For his next fight, Jerwin will be more focused. I hope there will be no more distractions.”

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