STOCKTON, USA – At first glance, the man wearing anti-viral face mask and heading to the elevator of the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel here Tuesday afternoon, April 30 (Wednesday, May 1, Philippine time) hardly appears to be a boxer. He was lean with a clean athletic outfit and calm demeanor.
Filipino sportswriters waiting for Ryuichi Funai, Jerwin Ancajas’ Japanese challenger for the International Boxing Federation super flyweight crown at the lobby, reluctantly asked, “Funai?” He nodded, and shortly after he was bombarded with questions.
Aided by sign language, Funai answered in halting English.
He arrived on Sunday from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, 3 kilos over the 115-pound limit.
Now, he’s just two kilos (4.4 pounds) over, without even visiting the gym.
According to Funai, who looks youthful at 33, he just ran daily at the vicinity of the boutique hotel just 160 meters away from Stockton Arena, venue of the title duel set Saturday, May 4 (Sunday, May 5, Philippine time).
He bared he sparred a total of 150 rounds with 4 partners, all lefties to suit Ancajas’ fight stance, and is confident of snatching the world crown on his first fight outside Japan.
Though he referred to Ancajas as “strong champion,” Funai said he has prepared well back home for his first crack at a world title.
After an insignificant start which saw him compile a 6-3 record as a bantamweight, the 5-foot-7 Funai has improved to 31-7 with 22 knockouts, 6 coming in his seven-bout winning streak, including a second round stoppage of Mexican Emanuel Olivo in their title eliminator last November 10.
Obliging request for pictures, Funai readily removed the face mask.
There were no visible marks of the ring battles he had gone through. – Rappler.com