SIDELINED for months now because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Filipino world boxing champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas said he is not letting the “forced” break go to waste as he continues to train in preparation for boxing’s eventual resumption just as he said he is open to different possibilities as far as future opponents is concerned, including against compatriot Donnie “Ahas” Nietes.

One of the guests in the recent episode of Tiebreaker Vods’ The Hit List, along with his coach Joven Jimenez, Mr. Ancajas (32-1-2) said training never really stopped for him amid COVID-19, mindful not to lose his step as he waits for the go-ahead for them to resume activities.

“With the help of Coach Joven and the rest of the team I continue to train because you’ll never know when we will be called back to fight. It’s better to be ready anytime,” said International Boxing Federation super-flyweight champion Ancajas, 28, in Filipino from their home base of Survival Camp in Cavite.

Recognizing the severity of the COVID-19 situation in the country, the Ancajas team said it is making sure that the needed health and safety protocols are being observed, including physical distancing and proper hygiene, so as not to compromise the wellbeing of every member of the group.

Mr. Ancajas went on to say that despite the prodding of some people to go up in weight, he is sticking to the 115-lb division for now as they feel there is still unfinished business to deal with.

“For me I want to still stay at 115 until I have faced the other champions in the division, the big-name fighters at 115,” said Mr. Ancajas, who won the IBF title in 2016 over Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo and has had eight successful title defenses to date.

A possible opponent being floated is Mr. Nietes, who won the World Boxing Organization super-flyweight title in 2018 but vacated it months later.

In the event Mr. Nietes asks them for a shot at the IBF title, Mr. Ancajas said it is something they are open to considering.

“Sure. Whatever the plans of Sir Sean [Gibbons] (president of MP Promotions which Mr. Ancajas is part of) and Coach Joven I’m ready. Presented with such an opportunity (Nietes fight), it’s worth grabbing,” he said.

Still another fight they see worth considering is a rematch against Alejandro Santiago Barrios of Mexico, whom the Filipino champion split drew with in September 2018.

With the way the fight ended the Ancajas team said it given the chance it wants a rematch to settle with finality the issues surrounding it.

“We are open to it. We want to fight him (Barrios) again because many said Jerwin lost that fight. We want to fight him to settle things once and for all,” Mr. Jimenez said.

Mr. Ancajas last fought in December last year, beating Chilean fighter Miguel Gonzalez by way of technical knockout in the sixth round to retain his title.

He was scheduled to fight in April in the United States against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez but it was called off because of COVID-19. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo