by Nick Giongco
World champion Jerwin Ancajas has found Stockton a great place to train for a big fight.
After spending three full days of training there, Ancajas is getting into the groove as he revs up for the mandatory defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight crown against Ryuichi Funai of Japan on May 4.
“Maganda po ang takbo ng ensayo dito. Tamang-tama ang weather. Malamig sa umaga at gabi pero umiinit sa araw (Training is good. The weather’s fine. It gets cold in the morning and night but it gets hot during daytime),” said Ancajas, who will fight for the fourth straight time on US soil.
Team Ancajas reports for training at the Flores Gym and lead cornerman Joven Jimenez makes sure his prized puncher doesn’t get burned.
“We are done with hard training,” said Jimenez, who is also an enlisted man in the Philippine Navy like Ancajas.
Focus is now on making sure that the Filiipino southpaw’s weight is in check, something Ancajas himself ensures is under close watch.
“Sa ngayon nasa 121 ako (Right now I weigh 121,” said Ancajas, who has to make the division limit of 115 lbs on May 3, the official weighin for the scheduled 12-rounder that takes place at the Stockton Arena.
Instead of getting billeted at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel – the official fight hotel picked by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. – Team Ancajas opted to rent a house nearby to allow them more space and shop and cook their own food.
Ancajas, who won the IBF diadem in Sept. 2016, was forced to a 12-round draw by Mexican Alejandro Santiago last September at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Inflicting a sound beating on Funai is tops on Ancajas’s mind.