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Ancajas fights in Warriors’ home


PhilBoxing.com




IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas cheered for the Cleveland Cavaliers when they battled the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals last June but with LeBron James moving to the Los Angeles Lakers and his sixth title defense against Mexico’s Alejandro Santiago set on Sept. 28 at the Oracle Arena, he has switched loyalties.

Ancajas’ trainer Joven Jimenez said now, the fighter from Panabo, Davao del Norte, is rooting for Steph Curry and the Warriors. It’ll be a treat for Ancajas to stake his crown in the Warriors’ building in Oakland. Although he’s still a LeBron fan, Ancajas has found a new team to cheer for and it’s not the Lakers.

Tonight, Ancajas and Jimenez leave Manila for the flight to San Francisco where they’ll land before motoring to check in at the Oakland Airport Executive Hotel. Others in the traveling group are stablemate Mark Anthony Barriga, Australian cutman Todd Makelim, Japanese trainer Kei Nideira, assistant trainer Delfin Boholst and lawyer Jayson Jorvina.

Ancajas’ two sons were named after Kyrie Irving, who used to play for the Cavs and Kyle Korver who’s still with Cleveland. His wife Ruth gave birth to their third child, baby girl Jacey Kiera, last Sunday.

Ancajas, 26, is unbeaten in his last 15 fights since losing a majority decision to Mark Anthony Geraldo in Lapu Lapu City in 2012. He has so far repulsed five challengers and a win over Santiago will bring him closer to his dream of unifying the 115-pound championship. Ancajas said he can’t afford to lose to Santiago and will go all out to post a convincing victory.

Santiago, 22, has a 16-2-4 record, with 7 KOs, compared to Ancajas’ 30-1-1, with 20 KOs. The Tijuana challenger is a fight-alike of former world flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada whose list of victims includes Filipinos Brian Viloria, Milan Melindo, Richie Mepranum, Ardin Diale, Raymond Tabugon, Rommel Asenjo and Jobert Alvarez. Santiago is a boxer-puncher known for his quick hands and footwork.

“Matibay is Santiago at sanay na lumaban sa abroad,” said Jimenez. Santiago’s only losses were by decision, one unanimous and the other split, and he has fought twice in Puerto Rico and once in the US. “Napanood namin si Santiago sa YouTube,” said Jimenez. “Pwede sa labas maglaro at pumapasok din. Maganda footwork niya.”

Jimenez said Ancajas is prepared for Santiago. He’s sparred about 80 rounds in three months of training at the Survival Camp in Dasmarinas, Cavite. His weight is 120 pounds, five over the limit, and it shouldn’t be a problem to scale down with over a week to go before the fight.

Jimenez said Ancajas will be aggressive. “Balak namin agresibo si Jerwin,” he said. “Pinaghandaan namin mga options depende sa sitwasyon kung makikipagsabayan si Santiago o lalaban sa labas. Kung ano man ang gawin ni Santiago, handa kami to adjust.”

The fight was initially scheduled in Daly City then reset to the SaveMart Arena in Fresno then moved to Pechanga Resort in Temecula before landing at the Oracle Arena where Golden State plays its home games in the NBA. Oracle has staged boxing events since 2009 and retired Oakland hero Andre Ward, an Olympic gold medalist and former world supermiddleweight and lightheavyweight champion, was the frequent headliner.


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


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