By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
WHILE admitted to have been greatly disappointed over the last-minute cancellation of his title defense in California at the weekend, International Boxing Federation (IBF) world super flyweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas said he is now moving on from it, believing that greater things could well be in store for him in lieu of the botched fight.
Was set to face Mexican Jonathan Rodriguez on Sunday (Manila time) for what was supposed to be his eighth defense of the title he won back in 2016, Mr. Ancajas (31-1-2) and his team were floored when it was announced that the fight would no longer push through.
Because of the failure of Mr. Rodriguez (21-1) to secure his US visa on time, leaving him unable to complete his medical requirements, Top Rank Promotions said it had no choice but to cancel the 12-round fight which was scheduled to take place at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Mr. Ancajas will still get the chance to defend his title but against a still-to-be-determined opponent in a bout tentatively set for Dec. 7 in Mexico.
“[On Friday] just before our afternoon training ended we were hurriedly called for a team meeting. There we were told by coach (Joven Jimenez) that the fight was cancelled as told by our matchmaker Sean Gibbons,” said Mr. Ancajas, in Filipino, in an online correspondence with BusinessWorld on Saturday.
The Filipino champion shared the he really felt bad with the sudden turn events as he and his team had already put in much-needed work and was ready to go to battle, making weight days before fight night.
But eventually he came to terms that maybe the cancellation had a bigger purpose for him down the line.
“At first I was really disappointed. But I just thought that maybe God has bigger plans for me. So I’ll just continue training here in the United States, focus on what I need to do and maybe in the next week couple of weeks my opponent will be known and then I’ll step up training some more,” said Mr. Ancajas, also touching on their immediate plans in the aftermath of the cancellation.
Mr. Ancajas and Coach Joven are expected to stay in the United States for the time being, with most of Team Ancajas, including nutritionist Jeaneth Aro and media consultant and photographer ALVIN S. GO, due back in the country later this week.
Mr. Ancajas won the IBF world super flyweight title in September 2016, defeating McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico by unanimous decision here in Manila.
He has defended his title seven times previously, the last time against Japanese Ryuichi Funai in May this year by knockout in California.