FRESNO, California — Jonas Sultan has always been a fast learner.
While he seems an adept guitar player, Sultan admitted he is self-taught and started only recently.
“Tumitingin lang ako sa YouTube paano tumugtog, tapos inaral ko lang,” said Sultan, who has been spending his breaks in training singing the blues away.
“Hindi naman ganun kagaling, pero puwede na,” he said with a smile in between video calls with his wife in Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte while relaxing inside his hotel room at the Courtyard Marriot.
He learned to box the same way.
Although Sultan came from a family whose livelihood depends on boxing — his father was a former trainer — Jonas really learned to box on his own, developing an eccentric striking style by joining underground street fighting in Zamboanga or what they call in local parlance as ‘colorum.’
That explains well how unpredictable he is when fighting inside the ring.
It could pose quite a challenge for IBF world super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas in their title bout on Saturday.
“Yung style niya hindi mo alam kung saan susuntok kaya yan ang hirap kay Jonas,” said trainer Edito Villamor.
“Kaya matapang, yun talaga ang attitude niya, kasi sanay nga sa labang ‘colorum,” he added. “So kung ano yung style niya, i-upgrade mo na lang.”
That was in display on Tuesday when the 26-year-old challenger to Ancajas briefly trained at the Heartbeat boxing gym, where some kids and adults who were inside the fitness center sought him out for photos upon learning he will headline the big weekend boxing card in the city together with Ancajas.
Also a hit among the gym enthusiasts was three-time world champion Donnie Nietes.
Shortly after returning from training, Sultan feasted on boiled egg and avocado, and had a cup of coffee. He was scheduled to spend an hour on the pool as part of his training program under strength and conditioning coach Nick Curson, before having humba for dinner.
“Pero adobo ang paborito ko, yung chicken,” added Sultan, who now weighs 117 pounds.
Villamor together with brother Edmund, will man Sultan’s corner in his first shot at a world title and are going to be joined by Curson and cut man Ed Dela Vega.