By Nick Giongco
Less than a month before he struts his stuff before US fans, Jerwin Ancajas is steadily racking up quality sparring rounds against the best talent available in his remote training camp in the rugged terrain of Magallanes, Cavite.
Since kicking off his training for the Feb. 3 fourth title defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title against Mexican Israel Gonzalez in Corpus Christi, Texas, Ancajas has logged about 60 sparring rounds mostly against Daniel Lim, Pete Penitente, Alan Alberca and John Mark Alimani.
There is also a plan to beef up the battery of sparmates with the addition of Ernesto Saulong, according to Ancajas’ chief handler and lead trainer Joven Jimenez.
Ancajas’ American debut will be promoted by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. is bringing the world title fight at the 10,000-capacity American Bank Center.
Owing to the magnitude of the fight, an event Ancajas believes will catapult him to prominence in the US, he has decided not to leave his training headquarters until his team departs for Los Angeles on Jan. 25.
Jimenez readily agrees, saying “an opportunity to fight in the US doesn’t come every day.”
“We’ve gone used to the weather conditions here (in Magallanes, Cavite) and I feel that he might get sick or his mindset gets messed up if we transfer somewhere else,” said Jimenez.
“So, we’ll be staying here until we leave for the US,” added Jimenez.
After three days in Los Angeles, Ancajas will fly to Corpus Christi on Jan. 28 where Top rank has laid out grand plans for the Filipino fighter being groomed to assume the role of Philippine boxing’s flag-carrier with the imminent retirement of Manny Pacquiao.
Ancajas, who turned 26 on New Year’s Day, defended the IBF 115-lb crown thrice in 2017, packing his bags and staking his title in Macau, Australia and Northern Ireland after winning it in Manila in September 2016.
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