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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Ancajas not picking opponents

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
07 May 2019



STOCKTON. IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas isn’t thinking about his next fight at the moment. He’s busy celebrating his seventh round demolition of Japanese challenger Ryuichi Funai at the Stockton Arena here last Saturday night.

But there’s a buzz in the air as to who might be in line as Ancajas’ eighth challenger. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said he’s thinking of pitting Ancajas against unbeaten Australian Andrew Moloney. There’s also the possibility of Ancajas taking on WBC counterpart Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico. Now that Ancajas is back on track as a marquee attraction, he won’t be wanting for offers.

Ancajas and his traveling party left here yesterday to enjoy Las Vegas and will be back home on May 14.

Ancajas’ trainer Joven Jimenez said he’s “very satisfied” with the titleholder’s performance against Funai. He went out to do a job and it was mission accomplished just like old times. Ancajas was spectacular in repulsing his first four challengers but his showing was far from impressive in outpointing Jonas Sultan and drawing with Alejandro Santiago last year. With his clinical disposal of Funai, Ancajas is once more a major attraction in the 115-pound ranks.

Still, Jimenez said he’s not grading Ancajas 100 percent. “Ang rating ko sa kaniya ay 8 from 1 to 10,” he said. “Marami pa kaming gagawin sa gym.” International matchmaker Sean Gibbons, who arranges Ancajas’ fights with Top Rank, said moving out of the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, to relocate to the Marine base in Ternate was the best thing that could’ve happened.

“Jerwin focused 100 percent at the Marine base,” said Gibbons. “No family, no drama, no distractions. That’s how it should be. And he followed the nutrition program. That was key. Jerwin had no difficulty making weight. It looks like he’s staying at the superflyweight division.”

Nutritionist Jeaneth Aro started working with Ancajas last November and laid out a nutrition program designed to bring his weight to the 115-pound limit without going hungry. “Jerwin’s very disciplined,” said Aro, a mother of two. “He never went hungry throughout all those months. We kept him hydrated. His performance against Funai was the proof of how effective the nutrition program was. We didn’t compromise his muscle mass which is his source of power and we provided the food and supplements to give him the energy to fight for 12 rounds.”

Ancajas said he never expected Funai to be as durable. He told the Japanese press Funai was dangerous until the end. Ancajas said he studied Funai’s style from film of fights against Filipino Warlito Parrenas who was stopped in the eighth round and Shinsuke Yamanaka who won by a seventh round stoppage. “Nagingat ako sa kaniyang right straight,” said Ancajas. “Natamaan ako sa may noo. Malakas siya at matibay.”

In the sixth round when Ancajas wobbled Funai, the champion looked at referee Edward Collantes waiting for a signal to stop it. When Collantes didn’t step in, Ancajas kept firing away. Collantes said he counted at least 22 unanswered head blows. But Funai wouldn’t go down.

Funai and his entire team showed class in visiting Ancajas in the lockerroom after the fight to congratulate the winner. The fighters embraced and posed for pictures together. A Japanese reporter said the Funai team wanted to show “great admiration” for a “great champion” with the visit.

Moloney, 28, is nicknamed The Monster and has a 19-0 record, with 12 KOs. He was recently signed to a contract by Top Rank. Last March, he halted Miguel Gonzalez in a WBA title eliminator so it’s not certain if the Australian will track the WBA or IBF belt. Obviously, he’ll do what Top Rank says. Gibbons said Moloney would be a welcome opponent but he won’t agree to a fight in Australia after what happened to Manny Pacquiao against Jeff Horn in Brisbane in 2017. “It’ll be in the Philippines or the US but Uncle Bob should put more money on the table for Jerwin,” said Gibbons.

As for Estrada, a unification showdown may be a long shot for now. Gibbons said Estrada may want to make his first defense in Mexico. Before Estrada beat Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai over a week ago, the Mexican conversed with Ancajas on a Facebook video call. They were connected by a common friend from Estrada’s camp. Ancajas said he wished Estrada good luck in his fight against Rungvisai. They didn’t talk about a possible duel.

Jimenez said Ancajas is ready to go for Estrada. “Kung ako ang tatanongin, si Estrada next target,” he said. “Magandang laban. Matagal ng pangarap ni Jerwin mag-unify. Ito na ang pagkakataon.” Ancajas said he’ll fight anyone whom Gibbons and Top Rank choose.


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