Philippines, 01 Dec 2020
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Ancajas in for long US haul

IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas will likely stay in the US for two or three fights once he lands from Manila and his manager/trainer Joven Jimenez said yesterday Top Rank is ready to arrange his next defense against Mexico’s Jonathan Javier Rodriguez in Las Vegas within a month of arrival.

It’s been a long wait for Ancajas to make his ninth title defense. He was supposed to face Rodriguez at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas last April 11 but the pandemic cancelled the fight that was originally set last Nov. 2 and postponed because the Mexican had US visa issues. When the Nov. 2 appointment was called off, Ancajas staked his crown against Chile’s Miguel Gonzalez instead in Puebla, Mexico, last December and won by a sixth round stoppage.

The Taal Volcano eruption forced Ancajas and Jimenez to relocate from the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite to Dipolog last Jan. 16. They moved to Manila two months later expecting to leave for the US on March 20 but the trip was suspended because of the pandemic. Ancajas resumed training in Magallanes then last Friday, moved to the Heracleo Alano Philippine Fleet Naval Base in Sangley Point under Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) commander Capt. Dwight Steven Dulnoan.

Jimenez said Flag Officer In Command Vice Admiral Giovanni Bacordo invited Ancajas to train with the Navy SEALS in Sangley Point. Ancajas reported at the base last Friday and the other day, received his certificate of acceptance as an honorary NAVSOG member of Class 82. While in Sangley Point, Ancajas will continue his boxing workouts and tomorrow, plans to spar four rounds each with Daniel Lim, Angelo Beltran and John Mark Alimane.

According to Jimenez, Class 82 has over 100 members. Before receiving his certificate of acceptance, Ancajas joined his classmates in a one-hour test where they did land and water exercises with a rubber boat. It’s the third naval base to welcome Ancajas, a reserve senior chief petty officer, in training camp after the Marine station in Ternate and the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales.

Jimenez said Ancajas now walks around at 138 pounds. “Nasa 132-133 na siya sa Magallanes pero ‘di pa oras magbawas kaya pinabayaan muna sa 135-138,” said Jimenez. “Patuloy ang advice ni (nutritionist) Jeaneth (Aro) sa kaniyang pagkain. Kondisyon si Jerwin at ‘di siya nagpapabaya.” Jimenez said Ancajas’ P1 visa has been approved by US Immigration but he needs a personal appearance at the US Embassy for his passport to be stamped. As soon as the US Embassy gives its clearance, Ancajas and Jimenez will fly to the US.

Jimenez said they will quarantine at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The duration of the quarantine will depend on their COVID-19 test results. But Jimenez said Top Rank has assured that a fight will be arranged for Ancajas three or four weeks after arriving in the US. So far, it’s still Rodriguez penciled as the challenger for Ancajas’ ninth title defense.

Jimenez said staying in the US for two or three fights won’t be a problem. “Sanay na kami,” he said. “Mahirap ang pabalik-balik kasi may quarantine. Handa si Jerwin na lumaban ng walang audience. Focus lang, walang distraction. Kung anong galaw ni Jerwin na may audience, ganoon din ang galaw niya kung wala. Nagpapasalamat kami kina Sen. Manny (Pacquiao), Sir Sean (Gibbons) at Philippine Navy sa suporta at tulong sa amin. Sisikapin ni Jerwin na iuwi niya ang kaniyang corona.”

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

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