Jerwin Ancajas
IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines will defend his title against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez on Sunday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. — ALVIN S. GO

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

AFTER more than a year, International Boxing Federation (IBF) world super flyweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas is back in action.

The Davao del Norte native Ancajas (31-1-2) is to defend his title against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez on Sunday, April 11 (Manila time), at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

It will be the ninth title defense for the 29-year-old Ancajas and a fight more than a year in the making, having been postponed twice previously.

Given the wait he had and how Ancajas’ team is angling to take the fighter’s push in the division rolling anew, the Rodriguez fight is a welcome development, said local fight analyst Nissi Icasiano.

“Jerwin hasn’t been in the ring since December of 2019. With the pandemic in play, it’s a race against time. There was a possibility of him getting stripped of the title. Plus, he was in the chase for a fight with the elite of his division. Now that he is back in the mix, he and Coach Joven (Jimenez) have one less thing to worry about,” said Mr. Icasiano, host of Tiebreaker Vods’ The Hitlist, in an online interview with BusinessWorld.

Mr. Ancajas last fought in Mexico in December 2019, where he successfully defended his title against Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzalez by technical knockout in the sixth round.

While Mr. Ancajas waited longer than hoped for his next fight, Mr. Icasiano believes the Filipino fighter will be in shape come fight day.

“Jerwin has been in the gym even before we felt the crippling effects of the pandemic. When he flew to the US in the third quarter of 2020, I believe, he just picked up where he left off. Training in the US kept him on his toes. He has lesser distractions and a good selection of training partners,” the analyst said.

He admitted though that Mr. Rodriguez (22-1) will present a challenge to Mr. Ancajas, but nothing the latter, provided he plays his game accordingly, cannot handle.

“Jerwin has to play to his strengths to break down his opponent brick by brick. On paper, his opponent looks phenomenal. But the Mexican hasn’t fought someone of the same caliber as Jerwin. The Filipino southpaw is coming into the fight with the better footwork that provides him advantageous angles and the championship experience which the Mexican doesn’t have at the moment,” Mr. Icasiano said.

“I see Jerwin wrapping this up either in the middle rounds or in the championship rounds.”

In the lead-up, Mr. Ancajas expressed his readiness and is looking forward to get it going anew.

“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.

Also seeing action on Sunday is undefeated Filipino featherweight boxer Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo (21-0), who is to take on American Pablo Cruz (21-3).

Ancajas versus Rodriguez will be shown in the country over One Sports and One Sports+.