JERWIN Ancajas felt goose bumps and his knees almost buckled when the world champion finally came face-to-face with the man he considered his idol.
The reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight title holder made a courtesy call on President Duterte at Malacanang on Tuesday night, finally getting to meet his longtime idol for the very first time.
Ancajas, 25, admitted being blown away by the presence of Duterte.
“Super excited kami. Nung malapit na si Presidente parang nanginginig na yung tuhod niya, tapos habang kausap na kami, parang nabubulol naman kami,” related Ancajas trainer and manager Joven Jimez.
“Sabi ni Jerwin sir, hindi po daw niya lubos maisip na mangyayari sa buhay niya na makakaharap ang Presidente lalo at LODI niya ito.”
Aside from Jimenez and Ancajas, also with the group was Olympian Mark Barriga, Games and Amusement Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra, and commissioners Eduardo Trinidad and Mario Masanguid.
Both Ancajas and Barriga are from Panabo Davao del Norte, which endeared them all the more to the country’s Chief Executive, who was a long-time mayor of Davao before he was catapulted to the presidency in 2016.
“Masaya siya kay Jerwin at kay Mark kasi (parehong) taga Davao at Batang Almendras. Doon po nag-umpisa si Jewin noong nine years old pa lang siya,” said Jimenez.
The courtesy call was made possible by Mitra following Ancajas’ successful defense of his IBF 115-lbs. crown against Jamie Conlan last Nov. 18 at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland. The Filipino beat his previously unbeaten Irish challenger via a sixth round technical knockout.
President Duterte didn’t give out any financial bonus on Ancajas, but vowed to help him – and Philippine boxing in general – in his thriving ring career.
“Nagsabi lang po siya na mag-abiso lang po kami kung ano ang kailangan ni Jerwin at tutulong daw po siya,” added Jimenez.
Ancajas (27-1, 18 KOs), fighting out of the Manny Pacquiao Promotions, made three successful title defenses this year – all outside of the country – after wresting the IBF belt from McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico in September of 2016.
He scored a seventh-round technical decision against Jose Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico at the Cotain Arena in Macau last January, and then followed it up with a seventh-round TKO of Teiru Kinoshita of Japan at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia five months ago in the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown.
Ancajas is supposed to have a mandatory title defense in April next year against fellow Filipinas Jonas Sultan of Cebu-based ALA Promotions.
According to Jimenez, international matchmaker Sean Gibbons will be coming to the country next week to hold a press conference on the next fight of Ancajas, though he refused to disclose whether it would be against Sultan or another fighter.