No more ring surprises for Ancajas
STOCKTON, USA—The memory of his last fight lingers with Jerwin Ancajas.
It also spurs him to do better when he defends the International Boxing Federation super flyweight crown against Ryuichi Funai on Saturday, May 4 (Sunday, May 5, Philippine time) at Stockton Arena.
“In my last fight, many people reacted,” said Ancajas, referring to his split draw with Mexican Alejandro Santiago Barrios last September. “Many Filipinos were also affected. Most of them are hoping for my victory, but it didn’t happen. That’s why we have a different preparation for this fight.”
Ancajas said chief trainer Joven Jimenez asked him to revert to their old wait-and-see style. Not to rush things up.
Unlike in his tussle against Barrios, when he poured it all in the first two rounds and, hampered by a flawed weight reduction diet, got winded in the process.
At the same time, however, Jimenez’s order is for him to dictate the tempo of the fight, by being more aggressive and throwing more punches, Funai being a stand-up fighter.
Jimenez also made sure there will be no surprises in the ring this time.
Admitting that they mainly relied on tapes of Barrios' fights, Ancajas said he sparred with 7 fighters of various styles in their training camp held at Marine Base in Ternate, Cavite, so he won’t be caught off-guard if Funai deviates from his recent bouts, wherein the Tokyo native stopped 6 of his last 7 opponents.
Installed as a heavy 7-1 favorite despite his disappointing stint against Barrios, Ancajas (30-1-2, 20 KOs), already the world’s longest reigning super flyweight titlist, won’t predict a knockout over Funai, also a power puncher (31-7, 22 KOs).
All he and Jimenez want is a dominant victory which will surely give them strong chances of forging a unification title duel with World Boxing Council counterpart Juan Francisco Estrada, who beat Thai legend Srisaket Sor Rungvisai convincingly last month.
Aware of Funai’s strong right straight, Ancajas promised to exploit his superior footwork and busier hands to take away its effectivity and rattle the Japanese.
Funai, about two inches taller than the 5-foot-6 Ancajas, refuses to be swayed by the odds.
“I can box or slug it out,” said Funai, who is 6 years older than Ancajas at 33, but is fighting out of Japan for the first time. “I know I have the experience and the skills to become the new IBF champion.”
Tabbed as a tough and durable, Funai is expected to apply his come-forward style against Ancajas, who is a noted counter-puncher.
Funai’s morale got a boost when his mother, wife, and sister-in-law flew in with a 20-strong contingent from Tokyo.
Hundreds of Filipinos, including descendants of pre-war settlers here, however, are expected to come in droves and cheer on Ancajas in his bid to beat Funai and bury the memory of that draw against Barrios. – Rappler.com