REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA – The International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title belt finally got into the hands of its rightful owner.
Jerwin Ancajas heaved a sigh of relief shortly after seeing the shiny, gold-plated belt delivered right in his second floor unit at the Homewood Suites-Hilton here on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
“Buti nga sir naihabol pa,” said the champion after getting hold of the belt left behind by his team as it rushed to make its scheduled trip from Manila to Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.
In their haste, no one noticed they’ve forgot the most significant thing that will be at stake on May 26 in Fresno, California between Ancajas and fellow Filipino challenger Jonas Sultan.
It was the 26-year-old champion who was the first to ask about his ‘baby.’
“Sabi ni Jerwin sa akin, 'Coach, mukhang hindi natin dala 'yung belt,'” recalled trainer-manager Joven Jimenez of his conversation with Ancajas as the two were already settled in their seats in a Philippine Airlines flight awaiting takeoff.
“Pero na assure ko naman siya na may manggagaling from Manila dala yung belt niya.”
Also left behind were three pieces of fighting shorts from which Ancajas will choose the one he would wear come fight night.
“Yung shorts naman hindi pa talaga dinala kasi hindi pa siya gawa and sabi ipapahatid na lang,” added the trainer of Ancajas, who nonetheless also received the boxing trunks together with the title belt.
Ancajas, Jimenez, along with Olympian Mark Barriga all came from the Italian embassy in Makati to apply for visas as they intend to attend an IBF convention where the native of Panabo, Davao del Sur is to receive his championship ring from the boxing body.
Unfortunately, their papers were not processed immediately, prompting them to leave the embassy in a hurry for their afternoon flight to the U.S.
“Ang decision namin i-withdraw na lang mga passport naming para maka-diretso na kami sa airport. Halos late na nga e, paspasan na,” he said.
“So nung pagkababa (ng sasakyan), wala na kaming ibang inisip.”
They did forget one other thing.
“Isa lang yung training short ni Jerwin na nadala,” said Jimenez laughing, adding members of Ancajas team had to buy a number of trunks in a nearby mall for use by the champ.