Ancajas all set for IBF title defense

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International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas said he is not going to relax in his first title defense against Mexican challenger Jose Alfredo Rodriguez on January 29 at the Studio City Casino in Macau, China.

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Ancajas, who turned 25 in New Year’s Day, guaranteed his preparedness for his upcoming fight although his opponent was defeated by fellow Filipino and reigning IBF light flyweight champion Milan Melindo (35-2 win-loss record with 12 knockouts) three years ago.

“I’m optimistic about my chances but I’m not taking him lightly,” Ancajas told The Manila Times during the New Year’s Eve in a phone interview. “He (Rodriguez) lost to Milan three years ago, but I don’t consider that as an advantage. I’m preparing seriously for this fight.”

Melindo defeated Rodriguez via unanimous decision in 2013 in Manila for a flyweight regional title bout.

The Panabo, Davao del Norte pug, who holds 25-1-1 win-loss-draw record with 16 knockouts, explained that he already increased his punching power without sacrificing his speed by means of proper training and conditioning in Imus, Cavite.

“I train properly in Imus, Cavite with my coach. We have a training method to increase my punching power without sacrificing my speed and footwork,” he explained. “We also enhanced our strategy because we are fighting now in a world level. We can’t be complacent.”

Ancajas, who is fighting for Manny Pacquiao’s MP promotions, won the IBF world title last September 3 in Taguig City by dethroning erstwhile unbeaten Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo (17-1 record with eight knockouts) via unanimous decision.

Long time manager and trainer Joven Jimenez also informed The Times that they were so happy and excited to learn that a Chinese promoter Rejoy Group would be promoting title defense.

“We were just informed by our Chinese promoter that we have an opponent on the 29th of January for Jerwin’s first title defense in Macau. Jerwin (Ancajas) is very happy to hear that. As far as I’m concerned about his weight and condition, Jerwin is okay,” said Jimenez.

“But we’re doing everything to improve his overall skills since he won his title. If you’re fighting for a world title level, you’re overall boxing skills must be high offensively and defensively. I’m glad that Jerwin is improving everyday.

Rodriguez, 27, is ranked No. 15 by the IBF. He is known for being a brawler and considered to be a powerful puncher after winning his last three fights. The orthodox boxer is holding a 32-4 win-loss record with 19 knockouts.

Ancajas also said that he is not bothered by the decision of former IBF flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero (23-3 record with 15 knockouts) to move up to the super flyweight division. Casimero vacated his IBF flyweight belt last week.

Ancajas, likewise Casimero, is also hoping to get a crack against the title of unbeaten Nicaraguan World Boxing Council (WBC) super flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez (46-0 record with 38 knockouts) this coming year.

JOSEF RAMOS

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