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Will 'Needle' prick Jerwin?


PhilBoxing.com




IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ next challenger Miguel Gonzalez is called “aguja,” Spanish for needle, and it remains to be seen whether the Chilean can prick the Filipino into losing his crown when they clash at the Auditorio GNP Seguros in Puebla, Mexico, on Dec. 7.

Ancajas will make the eighth defense of the 115-pound title he wrested from Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo in Taguig in 2016. The Panabo, Davao del Norte, southpaw was initially scheduled to face Mexico’s Jonathan Rodriguez in Carson, California, last Nov. 2 but the fight was scrapped because of US visa issues that left the challenger unable to obtain medical clearances from the state athletic commission on time. Gonzalez was later signed to replace Rodriguez.

Ancajas, manager/trainer Joven Jimenez, sparmate Jobert Alvarez and Alvarez’ trainer Dodong Llagas left Manila for Los Angeles last Oct. 18. Their stay was extended when Ancajas’ defense was reset. The group is now staying in a three-bedroom condo unit in Redondo Beach, near Los Angeles, provided by MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons. Ancajas is working out at The Rock Boxing Gym in nearby Carson.

Jimenez said Ancajas’ weight is closely monitored by nutritionist Jeaneth Aro. “Bawat kain, tumatawag si Ma’m Jeaneth,” said Jimenez, referring to the diet specialist who went to L. A. with the Ancajas group but is back in Manila overseeing athletes competing in the Southeast Asian Games. Ancajas’ weight was 125 pounds the other day and it shouldn’t be difficult to scale down to 115. Yesterday, Ancajas went six rounds in sparring with Alvarez who’s lined up for a fight in the Puebla undercard.

Jimenez said Ancajas is strictly focused on getting ready for Gonzalez. Ancajas was invited to attend the Filipino Heritage Night celebration highlighting the NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City at the Staples Center tomorrow but is staying home. “Bahay lang kami,” said Jimenez. “Malamig na sa L. A. Baka magkasakit si Jerwin pag lumabas kaya bahay at training lang kami.”

Asked what he thinks of the ‘Needle,’ Jimenez said he’s not worried about Ancajas getting pricked. “Puputulin namin ang sinulid ng karayom,” said Jimenez.

Gonzalez, 30, totes a 31-2 record, with 8 KOs, and has won 14 of his last 15 bouts since 2013. His only losses were to Britisher Paul Butler on points in the UK in 2013 and to Australian Andrew Moloney on an eighth round stoppage in Chile last March. Gonzalez was credited with a dubious fifth round knockdown before succumbing to Moloney. The Chilean was dropped by a left hook to the jaw and although he beat the 10 count, was declared unfit to continue by Argentinian referee Romina Arroyo. Gonzalez has since bounced back to score consecutive KO wins over Argentina's Hector Gusman and Venezuela's Jimson Garcia. Ancajas, 27, has a 31-1-2 record, with 21 KOs.

Gonzalez held the WBA Fedelatin superflyweight crown for four years and had five successful defenses until he was stripped of the title for failing to make weight last October. He has scaled over the superflyweight limit in his last two outings, weighing 119 1/2 for Gusman and 118 for Garcia. Gonzalez is ranked No. 10 by the WBA and No. 14 by the IBF in the 115-pound division. The Ancajas fight will be Gonzalez’ fourth this year and his second overseas assignment.


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


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