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    Ancajas admits ring rust caught up with him in last title fight: ‘Ang bagal ko’

    Apr 18, 2021

    JERWIN Ancajas conceded the effect of a long layoff took its toll on him during his last title defense against Jonathan Rodriguez of Mexico.

    The 29-year-old pride of Panabo, Davao Del Norte didn’t really feel the weight of his 16-month inactivity inside the ring, but noticed how it really affected his performance, especially in the final three rounds, when he finally got to watch the tape of the fight.

    “Ngayon ko nalaman na kapag matagal kang hindi nakalaban, talagang may tinatawag na kakalawangin ka. Iba talaga yung pakiramdam,” Ancajas said from Las Vegas, where he finally had his second dosage of the vaccine for COVID-19.

    “Nung mga sparring, training ko, yung kundisyon ko ok naman,” he added. “Pero pagdating sa laban nung nakita ko yung whole fight, ang sama ng laban ko, ang sama ng kundisyon ko, ang bagal ko.”

    Ancajas nonetheless, got away with a win by unanimous decision to retain his IBF (International Boxing Federation) super-flyweight title at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut last week.

    The April 10 fight was the first for the Filipino champion (33-1-2, 22 KOs) since Dec. 2019 when he scored a sixth round stoppage against Miguel Gonzalez in Mexico to keep his 115-lbs title belt.

    It was also the longest time he was idle from the ring.


      Despite being inactive for more than a year, Ancajas managed to score a knockdown, sending his tough Mexican challenger to the canvas in the eighth round following a barrage of combinations. It marked the first time Gonzalez, 25, suffered a knockdown in his pro career.


      Ancajas thought everything was over.

      “Nagulat ako nung eighth round napabagsak ko siya kasi alam ko matibay at hindi pa napabagsak si Jonathan sa buong career niya sa boxing,” recalled the champion. “Akala ko hihinto na siya sa round na yun kasi nakikita ko tumitingin na siya sa corner niya at umiiling-iling na.”

      But typical of Mexican warriors, Rodriguez survived the round, thrived on and gave Ancajas hell in the last three rounds.

      The champion appeared to be fading out from the ninth round onwards, but hung on and engaged his Mexican challenger in a lot of toe-to-toe exchanges.

      “Nagulat ako nung ninth round pataas, imbes na natatamaan ko siya ng solid, pero parang patibay pa siya ng patibay hanggang matapos yung laban,” said Ancajas.

      It was during that stretch when the so-called ring rust finally caught up with him.

      “Last three rounds sa taas ng ring parang hindi naman ako pagod, pero nung nakita ko yung laban, nakita ko parang ang bagal ko, ganun pala yung galaw ko,” he said.

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      Obviously, it was a lesson learned for Ancajas, who had been world champion since 2016, the longest among Filipino boxers today.

      “Iba talaga yung tuluy-tuloy ang laban kaysa yung naka-stuck ka ng 16 months. Naramadaman ko talaga,” he said.

      “Pero experience na din yun na pag matagal kang hindi nakalaban, ganun pala ang pakiramdam.”

      MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions President Sean Gibbons however, vowed to have Ancajas fight on a regular basis now that he’s in the US, hoping to have him back in the ring by September.

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