REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA – It’s a sight Filipino sports fans may not be used to, but it’s something Jerwin Ancajas sees as good for Philippine boxing in general.
Ancajas said his 12-round title bout against compatriot Jonas Sultan next Saturday at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California mirrors how Filipino boxers continue to attain world-class status.
“Napakalaking benepisyo sa boxing nito lalo na sa mga Pilipino dahil bihira lang yung Pinoy versus Pinoy na maglaban (ng title fight),” said the reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title holder.
“Sabi nga nila 93 years bago nagkaroon ng dalawang Pinoy na maglaban para sa world title.”
Pancho Villa and Clever Sencio were involved in the last time two Filipino boxers fought for a world championship at Wallace Field (now known as Luneta) in Manila in 1925. Villa won by unanimous decision to retain his flyweight crown.
Already a second world championship bout between two Filipinos is in the offing after the Ancajas-Sultan encounter as three-time world champion Donnie Nietes battles Aston Palicte for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-flyweight title.
Ancajas, 26, hopes he and Sultan will be able to give boxing fans a worthy fight in order to put up more bouts of this nature in the future.
“Sana nga maging maganda yung performance naming dalawa para matuwa yung mga fans, especially yung mga Filipino, at makita nila na puwede palang mag-promote ng Pinoy versus Pinoy na world title fight kasi maganda yung laban,” said the native of Panabo, Davao del Sur.
For making the fight to happen, both Ancajas and Sultan, along with three others, will be recognized in a short ceremony before Filipino and American fight fans at the Filipino Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Saturday.
The camps of both the champion and challenger will grace the event organized by Jason ‘JhayOh’ Otamias, a resident of Torrance, California and contributing photographer for SPIN.ph, and marks the first time Ancajas and Sultan will meet leading to fight night.
Also to be recognized during the meet are Nietes for being the longest-reigning Filipino world champion, trainer Marvin Somodio, and international matchmaker Sean Gibbons, both credited for being instrumental in arranging the Ancajas-Sultan bout.
The event also serves as a ‘Meet and Greet’ occasion to give Filipinos based here the chance to have photo ops and autograph signing from the two boxing stalwarts.
Ancajas continued with his light training Saturday at The Rock boxing gym in Carson, California with trainer Joven Jimenez and assisted by former national team member Delfin Boholst, and Olympians Bobby Jalnaiz and Mark Barriga.
The champion did his thing on the mitts and the heavy bags, and then had his usual abs exercises at the end of the training watched by numerous gym regulars.