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News  


History in the making


PhilBoxing.com





FRESNO. History will be made in the ring at the Save Mart Center here this morning (Manila time) as the first major world title fight featuring two Filipinos in 93 years comes off the wraps with IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas battling dangerous Jonas Sultan in a 12-round bout that is a consensus toss-up.


Neither Ancajas nor Sultan is predicting an outcome, presumably out of respect for each other as countrymen. But when the bell rings, they’ll come out with only one thing in mind----to win convincingly. Ancajas, 26, is making the fifth defense of the 115-pound crown while Sultan, 26, earned the title shot as a mandatory challenger by outpointing two-time world champion Johnriel Casimero last September.

Both fighters made the weight easily. Ancajas tipped the scales at 114.8 and Sultan, 114.4 at the weigh-in in the Tioga-Sequioa Brewing Co. Bar and Beer Garden downtown Friday afternoon. In the chief aperitif, WBA superflyweight champion Khalid Yafai of Birmingham checked in at 114.6 but his Mexican challenger David Carmona was overweight at 118.6 and couldn’t care less. Carmona didn’t bother to shed weight, even taunted Yafai in a face-off on stage then gulped down a bottle of Gatorade. Their fight will now be a non-title affair and Carmona will be required to wear heavier gloves aside from paying a hefty fine.

Ancajas employed a nurse/nutritionist Lovely Basbag to oversee his diet while preparing for Sultan at the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite. His trainer Joven Jimenez brought in Basbag, her husband and daughter from Davao to stay at the camp for nearly three months. In the other camp, Sultan’s food intake was supervised by sports performance coach Nick Curson whose Speed of Sport gym in Torrance has medical equipment to track metabolic rates and caloric movements. Curson worked on Sultan’s conditioning and nutrition for three weeks in Los Angeles to get ready for Ancajas. The day before the weigh-in, the protagonists enjoyed three square meals so there were no problems making weight.

Ancajas sparred close to 90 rounds over three months with a platoon of fighters but superfeatherweight Pete Penitenten was the closest to resemble Sultan’s style. Sultan is two inches shorter but stockier than Ancajas. The champion ended his sparring last May 11. Sultan did more than 100 rounds and even sparred with three different Mexicans at the Wild Card Gym before tapering off.

Las Vegas-based international matchmaker Sean Gibbons said Ancajas’ experience, skill level and power will offset Sultan’s heft, hunger and pressure tactics. “Israel Gonzalez was just as hungry but when he felt Jerwin’s power and went down in the first round, suddenly, he forgot about being hungry,” said Gibbons referring to Ancajas’ previous title defense where he scored a 10th round stoppage in Corpus Christi last February.

Curson said it’s anybody’s fight. “I’d like to say Jonas wins by a sixth round knockout but I’m really not picking a winner because they’re both great fighters and either can win it,” he said. “What I can confidently declare is Jonas is in the best shape of his life, he’s strong and I think he’s ready to win.” The main event will be shown on ESPN5 live via satellite like a pay-per-view telecast starting at 9 this morning.


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


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