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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Ancajas mulls leap to bantamweight

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
11 Mar 2019



IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas will defend his title against Japan’s Ryuichi Funai in Stockton, California, on May 4 and it could be his last fight in the 115-pound division as he plans to move up to bantamweight before the year ends.

Ancajas, 27, is now in deep training at the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, with five sparmates alternating to keep him sharp. So far, he’s up to six rounds of sparring and trainer Joven Jimenez said he’ll slowly work to hit peak condition three weeks before the bout. A plan to train in Las Vegas for a month could be scuttled and instead, Jimenez may bring Ancajas for isolation at the Marine base in Ternate.

Ancajas’ five sparmates are featherweight Alan Alberca, 22, superbantamweight Ernesto Saulong, 29, superlightweight Daniel Lim, 19, flyweight John Mark Alimane, 24 and flyweight Miller Alapormina, 21. Because of protracted negotiations for his next fight, Ancajas has held back in sparring more than six rounds since starting camp over a month back. But now that the date is set, Jimenez has laid out a timetable to bring Ancajas to top condition. At the moment, he weighs 134 pounds and under the strict supervision of nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, will scale down gradually to 115.

“No problem with weight,” said Jimenez in Pilipino. “Ma’m Jeaneth wants Jerwin where he is now so he has pounds to burn and can work out full blast. We are closely regulating his food intake. He’s eating healthy, he’s hydrated and he’s happy with his diet.”

As for Funai, Jimenez said he could be Ancajas’ toughest challenger yet. “Hindi basta-basta si Funai,” he said. “May diskarte sa labas at loob. Kung minsan, pa-sugod, kung minsan, hindi. Experienced fighter siya.” Funai, 33, has a 31-7 record, with 22 KOs compared to Ancajas’ slate of 30-1-2, with 20 KOs. The Japanese has won his last seven outings, 14 of his last 15 since 2012. Of his seven setbacks, one was by a split decision and another by majority. He has been stopped thrice----by Filipino Rolly Lunas, former WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka and Kenichi Yoshioka.

Jimenez said he recently contacted Funai victim Warlito Parrenas who was stopped by the Japanese in the eighth round in Tokyo last June. “Parrenas told me he wasn’t properly trained for the fight,” said Jimenez. “He warned us about Funai’s right straight which is his power punch. We’ve watched Funai on film. Jerwin’s a lot more active and aggressive. This is a must-win fight for Jerwin because he wasn’t impressive in his last fight (a split draw with Mexico’s Alejandro Santiago in Oakland last September). He wants an impressive win to set himself up for bigger fights ahead.”

For the past 1 1/ 2 months, Ancajas has been running up and down Nasugbu’s mountainous terrain once every two weeks. “We’re working on building stamina,” said Jimenez. “In sparring, we want Jerwin to throw more combinations, to be more aggressive, more active, to do volume punching. We don’t want him waiting for opponents to initiate. We want him to move in, charge and attack. It will be a different Jerwin in the fight against Funai.”

Jimenez said Ancajas hoped to face WBC superflyweight ruler Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in a unification showdown but the Thai opted to fight former WBA/WBO flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada on April 26 instead. “We’re moving forward,” said Jimenez. “Rungvisai would rather fight Estrada so this could be Jerwin’s last fight as a superflyweight. He might go up to bantamweight after Funai.”

Ancajas’ purse of $175,000 for his seventh title defense against Funai is the biggest in his career. The fight will be promoted by Top Rank and telecast on ESPN. A move to the bantamweight division which is undergoing a unification under the World Boxing Super Series banner may bring in bigger paychecks for Ancajas. But to stay in contention for marquee fights, Ancajas must dispose of Funai convincingly.

Photo: IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (left) and trainer Joven Jimenez.


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