Philippines, 25 Feb 2018
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Fireworks expected in title tiff


PhilBoxing.com




CORPUS CHRISTI. IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas is out to make an explosive impression in his US debut against Israel Gonzalez at the 10,000-seat American Bank Center here this morning (Manila time) but the Mexican challenger is just as determined to wrest the crown, making the 12-round bout a potential barnburner.

The protagonists easily made weight late Friday afternoon (US time). Ancajas checked in at 114 3/4 pounds while Gonzalez tipped the scales at 114. The superbantamweight limit is 115. Under IBF rules, fighters must submit to another weigh-in on the morning of their bout with a maximum of 10 pounds exceeding what they scaled the day before.

For Ancajas, making weight in his first try on the digital scales was a relief. He woke up in the morning weighing 116 pounds and had zero intake leading to a trial weigh-in of 115 at 1:30 pm up to the final weigh-in at 4:30 pm. Ancajas said he would never have forgiven himself for not making weight because of the embarrassment to his country. After the weigh-in, he gobbled up a hard-boiled egg with two bites, gulped down a bottle of water and obliged several interviews. Then, he went straight back to his Holiday Inn room to a meal of tinolang manok, rice and fish prepared by former WBC lightflyweight champion Rodel Mayol.

Ancajas’ trainer Joven Jimenez said weight was never an issue. “Jerwin’s very disciplined,” he said. “We didn’t even work out to sweat on the day of the weigh-in. We got a little worried the day before because we found out the scales we brought were half a pound off from the official scales. But it didn’t make a difference.” Two days before the weigh-in, Ancajas went between 116 to 117. He kept pace with the treadmill, shadow-boxed, ran around a swimming pool and covered himself in a thick blanket while lying down on the floor of his hotel room with the temperature raised high. The routine brought down his weight to 115.

Las Vegas matchmaker Sean Gibbons said making weight is a tricky business. “You really want to weigh 115 only for two hours when you step on the scales at the weigh-in,” he said. “Some fighters make weight two days before the weigh-in and end up dehydrated. Joven did a good job managing Jerwin’s weight so he never got burned out.”

With the weigh-in over, Ancajas is now focused on getting the job done in the ring. He said he’s excited to put on a show and he’s more nervous facing media than fighting Gonzalez. Since his arrival here last Sunday, Ancajas has been the darling of the local press because of his self-effacing nature. The Corpus Christi broadsheet Caller Times ran a headline story entitled “Ancajas Living His Dream” on the front page of the sports section with three photographs last Thursday and the day after, had him on the cover of a pullout with a middle spread feature.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Ancajas reminds him of Sen. Manny Pacquiao. “They’re both humble and mild-mannered,” said Arum. “If he’s even a mini-half-Manny, that’s awesome because there’ll never be another Manny. Jerwin can fight, he’s got the Manny pedigree."

Photo: Ancajas relishes a meal of tinolang manok, rice and fish after making weight.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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