INTERNATIONAL Boxing Federation (IBF) world super flyweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas has not fought in more than a year, which is why in his ring return next month he is all in and ready.
Mr. Ancajas (31-1-2), who is currently training in the United States, is set to defend his world title against Jonathan Javier Rodriguez of Mexico on April 10 (April 11 Manila time) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The fight was twice-postponed previously, the last time in April last year, a victim of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m excited and happy for this opportunity to be back in the ring after some time. Waiting is nothing new to me. I have experienced this in the past,” said Mr. Ancajas in Filipino in a virtual press conference on Monday.
The Davao del Norte native last fought in December 2019 in Mexico, where he successfully defended his title against Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzalez by technical knockout in the sixth round.
“As a fighter, I always keep myself ready; whoever I’m up against and wherever it may be,” he said of the mind-set he has.
MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons, whose group handles the professional career of Mr. Ancajas, said they are viewing the Filipino’s upcoming fight with much significance.
“This has been a long time coming. For various reasons, it did not push through in the past. But we are excited to finally get this going. This is an important fight for Jerwin. He needs to get past this to go for the other top fighters,” said Mr. Gibbons, who joined Mr. Ancajas and coach Joven Jimenez in the press conference.
Mr. Gibbons said they are not looking past Mr. Rodriguez just yet, but possible opponents for Mr. Ancajas after include Thai Srisakit Sor Rungvisai, American Joshua Franco (regular WBA champions), and Japanese Kazuto Ioka (WBO champion).
In Mr. Rodriguez (22-1), Mr. Ancajas is up against a boxer who is on a roll, winning his last six fights and determined to seize the title from the reigning champion.
The 25-year-old fighter last saw action in December against compatriot Julian Yedras, where he won by knockout.
Mr. Ancajas, however, reiterated that he is ready to fight and defend his title for the ninth time.
“Since I came over here last year (in the United States), we have been training steadily. For this fight, I’m already 95 percent ready,” he said.
The Ancajas-Rodriguez fight is part of a triple-header with the main event featuring American Jaron Ennis and Russian Sergey Lipinets.
Also part of the event is the clash between undefeated fighter Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo (21-0) of the Philippines against Pablo Cruz (21-3) of the United States.
The Rodriguez fight is the first for Mr. Ancajas under Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions group after being released from his contract by Top Rank Promotions of Bob Arum.
The fight will be broadcast in the country over One Sports and One Sports+. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo