world boxing

Underdog Ancajas takes swing at Inoue’s world bantamweight belt in Tokyo

Roy Luarca

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Underdog Ancajas takes swing at Inoue’s world bantamweight belt in Tokyo

FIGHT ON. Filipino boxer Jerwin Ancajas (right) and Japanese title holder Takuma Inoue both check in at 117.75 pounds during the official weigh-in.


‘I want to be world champion again,’ says Jerwin Ancajas as the Filipino underdog goes for Japanese Takuma Inoue's WBA bantamweight crown

TOKYO, Japan – The time has come for Jerwin Ancajas to claim another world crown.

A pumped up Ancajas goes after Takuma Inoue’s World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight crown on Saturday night, February 24, at the Kokugigan Arena here.

Despite having the longer experience and stronger power, Ancajas has been tagged the underdog against Inoue, younger brother of pound-for-pound No. 1 Naoya Inoue.

Oddsmakers put Ancajas at +225 against -275 for Inoue, who’ll be staking the 118-pound title for the first time.

“I want to bring home the crown. I want to be world champion again,” said Ancajas who reigned for six years in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight division before outgrowing it.

Both Ancajas and Inoue tipped the scales at 117.75 pounds during Friday’s official weigh-in at the Tokyo Dome Hotel, allhough the Filipino had to strip bare.

According to Ancajas, who intends to climb the ring at least 135 pounds, he must beat Inoue not only for personal glory but to give the Philippines its first world boxing champion this year.

Although he did not promise a knockout, Ancajas, owner of a 34-win, 3-loss, 2-draw card with 23 knockouts, said he will pour it all if given the chance to cut short the 12-round bout originally scheduled November 15 but got pushed back after Inoue sustained a fractured rib during training.

An added motivation for Ancajas is his growing family, with his wife Ruth pregnant with their fifth child.

According to Joven Jimenez, Ancajas’ longtime trainer and manager, they’ve prepared hard for this fight, spending the last two months at their Survival Camp in Magallanes.

“We’re prepared for whatever Inoue will bring in the ring,” said Jimenez.

While Ancajas and Jimenez are wary of the outcome, MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons is optimistic the Filipino southpaw will end up the new world champion.

“Not just 100 percent, but I’m 110 percent certain Jerwin will win,” said Gibbons, who bared that the three-knockdown rule has been waived for the card put up by Ohashi Promotions.

Inoue said Ancajas is the best fighter he has ever faced, but he’s ready to spring some surprises that will catch the Filipino off guard.

American Mark Nelson will be the third man in the ring while South Korean Kim Byung Woo, Italian Luigi Boscarelli, and American Alex Levin will be the judges.

Former world title challenger Jonas Sultan, meanwhile, tangles with Japanese prospect Riku Masuda in the undercard.

Sultan, holder of a 19-6 card with 11 knockouts, needs an impressive win over Masuda, 3-1 with 3 knockouts, to get back in line for a world title eliminator.

Junnie Navarro, Sultan’s manager, flew in from the Philippines late Thursday to lend support to his fellow Zamboangueno. –

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