Philippines, 12 Dec 2018
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Now or never for Sultan

FRESNO. Jonas Sultan has a surprise waiting for IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas when they face off in a 12-round title fight at the Save Mart Center here tonight (tomorrow morning, Manila) and trainer Edito Villamor said the challenger will do what it takes to wrest the crown from the fighter touted to be the next Manny Pacquiao.

Sultan, 26, said when he left Cebu to train in Los Angeles three weeks ago, he was 50 percent sure of winning. Now, he said it’s 100 percent. Villamor said strength and conditioning coach Nick Curson, who operates a gym in Torrance, has done wonders to get Sultan ready for battle. Curson himself said it’s now or never for Sultan and he couldn’t be better prepared to beat Ancajas.

“If Ancajas expects Jonas to just be aggressive, he’ll be surprised,” said Villamor. “Jonas will mix it up. He’ll box, he’ll pressure. He won’t do only one thing. We’ve studied Ancajas’ style. Jonas knows what to do to win.”

The referee for the fight will be Wayne Hedgpeth of Los Angeles with Jonathan Davis, Daniel Sandoval and Zachery Young the judges. Hedgpeth will work his first world title fight involving male boxers. In 2014, he was the referee when Maureen Shea stopped Angel Gladney in the fourth round to capture the vacant International Female Boxing Association world superbantamweight crown in Oxnard, California. Davis is a Filipino from Cebu now living in Los Angeles where Sandoval and Young also reside.

ALA Boxing president Michael Aldeguer, who’s in town for the fight, said Sultan is in the best shape of his life. “Jonas wanted to fly in a week before the fight but I insisted on three weeks so he gets adjusted and Nick can work with him longer,” said Aldeguer. “Jonas is all guts. His brother Dondon (former WBF welterweight champion) brought him to us. I remember when he lost a decision to Go Onaga in Japan in 2015, he told me what he learned was when he fights abroad, he has to go for a knockout because you can never be sure of the decision. Jonas has now won five in a row since that defeat, including knockouts in Japan and South Africa.”

Aldeguer said Sultan’s wins over former world champions Johnriel Casimero and Sonny Boy Jaro are a testament to his worth as a challenger. “He’s calm and very confident,” he said. “Personally, I’m very proud that two Filipinos are fighting for the world title. It’s showing the world that the Philippines is a world power in boxing. We know Ancajas is on a roll and we respect him as a great champion. But Jonas is capable of pulling an upset.”

Sultan said he has focused on stamina and speed in preparing for the fight. “Doble ang training ko sa mga nakaraan kong laban,” he said. “Marami akong ginawa para mas higitan ko pa ang kondisyon ko sa mga dating kong laban. Positive ako na kaya kong manalo at gagawin ko lahat para maipanalo ang laban.”

Sultan, who is married with two kids, is the fifth of eight children. His father is a farmer and his mother used to work as an OFW in Saudi Arabia. ALA patriarch Tony Aldeguer gave Sultan his nickname “Zorro.” “Nagkataon lang ‘Zorro’ yung bagay sa pangalan ko,” he said.

Former WBC lightflyweight champion Rodel Mayol predicted a thriller. Mayol will work Filipino John Vincent Moralde’s fight against Ismail Muwendo in the Ancajas-Sultan undercard. “Sultan is hungry and it’ll be a tough fight,” he said. “I watched Sultan spar once at the Wild Card Gym. He’s awkward, a bit wild. He can’t outbox Jerwin and will lose a decision if he tries. He’ll pressure Jerwin but I don’t think he can catch him.”

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

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