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Jalnaiz in Ancajas’ corner


PhilBoxing.com




CORPUS CHRISTI. There was a familiar figure who joined trainer/manager Joven Jimenez in IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ corner for the fight against Mexican challenger Israel Gonzalez at the American Bank Center here Saturday night.

Bobby Jalnaiz, 51, now lives in Los Angeles where he works with his brother-in-law Roberto Galarte in the contracting business for home maintenance. He migrated to the US in 2012 with his wife Mary Joy and children Asian Marie, 25, Roberto Miguel, 20 and Rafael, 20.

When Jalnaiz was Mayor Oscar Moreno’s boxing project director in Cagayan de Oro from 2004 to 2012, he discovered promising simonpures Joven Jimenez of Bukidnon and Delfin Boholst of Leyte. As a talent scout for Visayas and Mindanao, Jalnaiz saw the rise of stars like Milan Melindo, Violito Payla and the Pagara brothers. Jimenez became a Philippine Navy fighter and later a coach then decided to build a pro stable. Boholst represented the country in two Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games but never brought home a medal. Boholst, 35, is a retired Philippine Army first lieutenant.
****

When Jimenez needed a helping hand for Ancajas’ fight here, he invited Jalnaiz and Boholst to join the team. He also brought in former WBO lightflyweight champion Rodel Mayol, cutman Todd Makelim and minimumweight contender Mark Anthony Barriga.

Jalnaiz said Ancajas reminds him of two-time world champion Dodie Boy Penalosa whose fists were like loaded with dynamite. “He hits like Dodie Boy with a lot of power and moves like Floyd Mayweather,” said Jalnaiz in Pilipino. “I think he can move up all the way to lightweight. He’s only 26 so he has a long way to go.”

Jalnaiz’ sons dominated the Philippine amateur circles in their teens. When they left for the US, their interest shifted. For a while, Roberto tried boxing although he never turned pro. He even sparred with former two-time world title challenger Chris Avalos at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. But Robert is pursuing a career as a nurse like his sister. Rafael recently graduated from St. Anthony’s High School and will study to become an electrician.
****

Jalnaiz was the country’s only gold medalist at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. He also struck paydirt at the 1991 Southeast Asian Games. Twice, Jalnaiz went to the Olympics and failed to finish on the podium. At the 1988 Seoul Games, he drew a bye in the first round then dropped a decision to Hungary’s eventual bronze medalist Jainos Vairadi in the next round. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Jalnaiz appeared to be on the way to a medal after halting the Dominican Republic’s Agustin Castillo at 2:46 of the first round and France’s Philippine Wartelle at 0:32 of the second. In the quarterfinals, he ran into Cuba’s Joel Casamayor and was knocked out in the first stanza. Jalnaiz said he was outboxing Casamayor when he got careless and was tagged by a picture-perfect left hook.

After his second Olympics, Jalnaiz turned to coaching and took care of over 300 fighters through the years. In the US, he always makes himself available to assist visiting or resident Filipino boxers. A thought entered his head after migrating and Jalnaiz decided to try his luck as a pro. It was a short-lived adventure. He took a fight in Colorado and was knocked out in one round. Jalnaiz never went back to the ring again.

Jalnaiz said he knew all along that Ancajas would beat Gonzalez. Ancajas entered the locker room close to three hours before the fight and was a picture of serenity. He wore headphones to listen to music by The Police and Air Supply. Ancajas occasionally sang along in a hushed voice. He wrapped his own hands then slipped on the Canada-made red Hayabusa boxing gloves made popular by MMA star Georges St. Pierre. Hayabusa is the Japanese term for the peregrine falcon, known for his speed, agility and power. Ancajas shadow boxed and did some mitt work with Jimenez to warm up.

Two former Manny Pacquiao teammates were in different corners that night. Strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza was in Jose Benavidez’ corner for an eight-round welterweight bout against Matthew Strode. Argentinian cutman Miguel Diaz worked the corners of Gabriel Flores against Alex Solorio, Teofimo Lopez against Juan Carlos Sanchez and Habib Ahmed against Gilberto Ramirez.

Photo: Bobby Jalnaiz (L) with Jerwin Ancajas (C) and Rodel Mayol.


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


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