JERWIN Ancajas found an inspiration in Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz.
The world boxing champion said he envied the Filipina weightlifter when she went up the podium back in 2017 to receive the Athlete of the Year award from the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA). Ancajas was then a recipient of a citation from the country’s oldest media organization as the newly-crowned International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight king.
Afterwards, the 26-year-old pride of Panabo, Davao del Norte had one thing in his mind – one day he’ll become an Athlete of the Year awardee, too.
“Inaasam-asam ni Jerwin yan sir. Isa sa dahilan yan at nagsumikap po kami sa bawat laban niya para marating po niya yung PSA Awards Night,” disclosed Ancajas’ trainer and manager Joven Jimenez.
In less than a year, Ancajas made the dream come true.
“Yan po ang isa sa mga pangarap ko, yung maka-akyat sa entablado ng PSA,” admitted Ancajas.
Tuesday night at the Maynila Hall of the historic Manila Hotel, there was Ancajas, elegant in his all-black suit, sharing the stage with bowler Krizziah Lyn Tabora and billiards player Carlo Biado as Athletes of the Year.
Jimenez was not around when his prized boxer went up to receive his award as he is currently in Japan to man the corner of Ernesto Saulong, who will vie for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior-bantamweight crown on Thursday.
But he was happy to see Ancajas realize one item on his bucket list.
“Noong nakaraan pagkatapos ng PSA, sabi ko sa kanya sikapin niya na makuha ang Athlete of the Year at kailangan po niya maipanalo lahat ng laban niya sa 2017,” said Jimenez.
He did just that.
Ancajas successfully retained his IBF belt three times, beating Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Teiru Kinoshita, and Jamie Conlan one after the other in a busy year for the champion.
Just last month, he made a successful US debut following a 10th round stoppage of Israel Gonzalez at the American Bank Center in Texas to defend his crown.
“Kaya po sobrang tuwang-tuwa kami ni coach nung nalaman namin na napili akong Athlete of the Year (ng PSA),” said Ancajas.
At the rate things are going, there is certainly more to come for this soft-spoken, humble world champ.