CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – World champion Jerwin Ancajas has entered the most crucial phase of training: reducing weight.
Late Monday afternoon (Tuesday morning in Manila), Ancajas took a 15-minute ride to a rustic gym on Gollihar Street named Neighborhood Center Boxing and stepped up his weight-reduction regimen.
Five days removed from his fourth defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight throne against Israel Gonzalez of Mexico, Ancajas donned a black sweat suit, a thick hoodie and another track apparel in the last 15 minutes of the hour-long workout.
While his camp has yet to press the panic button, Team Ancajas is starting to feel a bit of pressure in the days leading up to the official weighin on Friday.
The division limit is 115 lbs and the scale read 120 when he woke up.
The target is for the weight to get down to about 117 to 118 by Wednesday and Ancajas and his handlers have gone up a notch in a bid to get rid of excess baggage.
During a last-minute sumptuous dinner arranged by the Filipino community here Monday, Ancajas just had a plate of fruits and a small bowl of beef soup.
After a little over an hour of exchanging pleasantries with new fans, composed mainly of top professionals and old-timers, Ancajas asked that he be brought back to his mini suite at the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina.
Powell Palmares, the acknowledged leader of the association, didn’t hesitate to let go of Ancajas, knowing that rest and sleep are truly important to someone fighting for a world title.
“We all have to understand that the fight is just days from now,” said Palmares, who was nonetheless deeply touched by the show of appreciation by Ancajas and his team.
Earlier in the day, Ancajas ran into Gonzalez just outside the main door of the Omni Hotel where the Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. is housed.
The two treated each other with utmost respect as they shook hands, smiled at each other and gladly posed for pictures as if they were long-lost friends.
But Ancajas was quick to dismiss the display of brotherly love.
“I am friendly outside the ring but I am the complete opposite inside,” said the 26-year-old Ancajas.