IT could be like playing in enemy territory for Jerwin Ancajas when he defends his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title against Alejandro Santiago Barrios of Mexico next week.
Ancajas makes his sixth title defense on Sept. 28 at the Oracle Arena, home of defending two-time NBA champion Golden States Warriors.
The 26-year-old Ancajas of course, is a known fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the same team the Warriors had beaten in the last NBA Finals.
“Sabi ko nga kay Jerwin lipat na kami sa Golden State,” joked trainer and manager Joven Jimenez just before Team Ancajas left for San Francisco late Wednesday night.
“Pero matigas pa rin. Cavs pa rin daw siya,” said Jimenez of the soft-spoken champion, who is still loyal to the Cavs LeBron James' move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ancajas, however, is ready to finish off Barrios in the home arena of the same team which left him heartbroken last summer. He is confident Barrios will feel the same by the end of the fight.
“Maganda ang naging training ngayon, mas focused, and tama lang ang pag-peak ni Jerwin,” said Jimenez.
Adding motivation for the Filipino champion is the birth of his baby Jacey Kiera just a few days before he departed for the U.S. Kiera is the first daughter of Jerwin and wife Ruth.
“Masayang-masaya si Jerwin na nakita niya yung baby niya bago siya umalis,” said Jimenez.
Apart from the two, other Team Ancajas members who left for San Francisco were stablemate and world title challenger Mark Barriga, strength and conditioning coach Delfin Boholst, and cutman Todd Makelim.