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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Ancajas vows fight to the finish

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
05 May 2019



STOCKTON. IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas isn’t just focused on retaining his title. He’s also determined to erase the nightmarish memory of an unimpressive showing in his last two fights by putting on a spectacular performance against Japanese challenger Ryuichi Funai at the Stockton Arena in this California port city this morning (Manila time).

It will be Ancajas’ seventh title defense since wresting the crown from Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo in Taguig in 2016. But while he’s been commended for his longevity on the throne, Ancajas drew criticism last year for fighting below par against countryman Jonas Sultan whom he outpointed and Mexico’s Alejandro Santiago with whom he battled to a split draw.

Ancajas admitted he was bothered by the negative feedback and said he owes it to his fans to bounce back with a vengeance. The time for redemption has come. “Against Sultan and Santiago, I went for a spectacular knockout but it didn’t happen,” he said in Pilipino. “I was overconfident because I stopped my first four challengers. I learned from that experience. Now, I’m ready for Funai. I’m going back to what I did before. I won’t be in a hurry. I won’t try to score a one-punch knockout which isn’t my style. I’ll break down Funai until I can take him out.”

Ancajas said he’s prepared for a tough fight. His training camp went smoothly, moving from Magallanes, Cavite to the isolated Marine base in Ternate to avoid distractions for eight weeks. He’ll do what it takes to win convincingly.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said Funai shouldn’t be taken lightly. “He’s a mandatory challenger,” he said. “It will be a tough defense for Jerwin. Funai’s a tough guy.” Arum said if and when Ancajas retains the crown, he already has someone in mind as his next opponent----Australia’s Jason Moloney who has an 18-1 record, with 15 KOs.

Ancajas’ trainer Joven Jimenez said he expects a decisive win. “Jerwin hasn’t been as focused for a fight since knocking out (Teiru) Konashita (another Japanese) in 2017,” said Jimenez in Pilipino. “He’s very disciplined. He wants to put on a good showing to make the fans forget what happened in his last two fights. He’s prepared to go 12 rounds and he’s in condition to go even 24 rounds.”

International matchmaker Sean Gibbons said Funai will make Ancajas look good. “I think the Jerwin that Mr. Arum has been looking for will show up,” he said. “Funai gets hit a lot so I expect Jerwin to get the chance to stop him. This is Jerwin’s chance to prove himself all over again.”

The referee for the fight will be San Francisco’s Edward Collantes who conducted an officiating clinic with Frank Garza during the WBC Women’s Convention in Manila last year. The judges are Jonathan Davis, Kermit Bayless and Daniel Sandoval. Supervisor is ratings chairman Anibal Miramontes. The California State Athletic Commission appointed the supervisor, referee and judges.

In Ancajas’ corner will be Jimenez, cutman Todd Makelin, Jimenez’ brother Vergel and Jerald Daniega. Working Funai’s corner are trainer Tomoaki Takahashi, Takashi Inoue, Kazutaka Yoshino and Hitoshi Watanabe. Over 20 relatives and friends flew in from Japan to witness the action at ringside. Funai’s parents, wife, brother and sister-in-law will be in the audience.

Ancajas, 27, is shorter by at least two inches but doesn’t consider it a handicap. He said he prefers fighting a taller opponent because it’s easier to mark a target. Funai, 33, is making his US debut and said this is his first and last chance to win a world title so he’s going all out to dethrone Ancajas. Funai’s record is 31-7, with 22 KOs compared to Ancajas’ slate of 30-1-2, with 20 KOs.

Photo: Jerwin Ancajas and Ryuichi Funai at the weigh-in with (left) trainer Joven Jimenez and matchmaker Sean Gibbons.


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