THE fists of Jamie Conlan and the freezing Irish weather have given Jerwin Ancajas some major concern heading to his defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight title on Sunday (Manila time) in Belfast.
The weather has been brutally cold in the Northern Ireland capital since the camp of the Filipino champion arrived there exactly a week ago. And Ancajas and Co. expects things to get even worse on fight night when temperature is expected to be as low as 8’C.
Trainer Joven Jimenez could only hope temperature inside the SSE Arena would not be as cold come fight night.
“Yun ang problema sir,” Jimenez said in a message sent to SPIN.ph on the eve of the 12-round match that serves as the main undercard in the comeback fight of former world champion Carl Frampton.
“Sa labas sir, malamig. Sa venue kasi hindi namin napuntahan,” he added. “Sana hindi malamig masyado.”
But so far so good, everything has been under control for the reigning world champion.
Ancajas easily tipped the scale at exactly 115 lbs. during the official weigh-in Friday night (Manila time). Conlan, brother of rising boxing star Michael Conlan, also made weight at 115 lbs.
Shortly after the weigh-in, Ancajas feasted on rice and an assortment of Filipino food and some fruits.
“Sakto lang po sa timbang, Wala naman talaga siya naging problema,” said Jimenez.
This will be the third time this year Ancajas, fighting out of the Manny Pacquiao Promotions, is staking the 115-lbs title he won last year by outpointing Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo.
The native of Panabo, Davao del Norte retained the crown last January with a seventh-round technical decision over Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico at the Cotai Arena in Macau.
Six months after, he defeated Japanese Teiru Kinoshita with an impressive seventh-round TKO win in the main undercard of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight championship showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
Ancajas carries a ring record of 27-1-1, with 18 KOs.
Conlan, 31, is unbeaten in 19 fights with 11 KOs, and is expected to have the backing of the huge partisan crowd as he makes his first ever attempt at a world title.
Jimenez said the Filipino is ready to take on the challenge, the cold weather notwithstanding.
“Siguro i-warm up lang namin siya (Jerwin) ng husto before the fight,” said the champion’s manager.