Ready to rumble

The most crucial phase of Jerwin Ancajas’ bold bid to regain his lost laurels begins next week in the familiar confines of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.

Ancajas is slated to battle Argentina’s Fernando Martinez on 8 October at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.

Before suffering an upset loss at the hands of Martinez last February, Ancajas had been keeping a stranglehold on the International Boxing Federation super-flyweight belt since late-2016.

But owing to bad breaks, Ancajas had to hand the IBF 115-lb strap to Martinez in Las Vegas.

Saying he and the entire team have learned their lesson, Ancajas is determined to prove that the Martinez defeat was just a fluke.

Instead of moving up in weight, Ancajas decided to delay that move in a quest to exact payback.

Team Ancajas is flying to Los Angeles on Saturday and he and his handlers are arriving there also on a Saturday given the time difference between the United States and Manila.

By sunrise Monday, the Filipino southpaw will likely be doing roadwork in preparation for an afternoon workout at Freddie Roach’s famed sweat shop on Vine Street.

Arriving in America way ahead of fight night is pivotal.

In fact, Manny Pacquiao even had to set up camp there as far back as eight weeks before a fight.

The eight-division champion didn’t set foot on US soil less than three or four weeks before a scheduled bout.

So, Team Ancajas is taking a page from Pacquiao’s tried and tested formula by setting up camp three weeks prior so he gets used to the local conditions.

Expected to supervise the final stage of the preparation is long-time trainer Joven Jimenez, who has also drawn support and help from diet, conditioning and sports psychology experts aligned with the Philippine Sports Commission.

Now that Ancajas has gotten back to his old ways, hopes are high that he will be returning home not only with the IBF championship but with Martinez’s head as well.

If Ancajas doesn’t get back at Martinez, the future looks uncertain.

Perhaps, he could finally go up in weight and try his luck at bantamweight to go after some of the fight game’s biggest names, including Naoya Inoue of Japan.

But that’s simply getting ahead of the story.


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