Ancajas defends IBF crown vs Rodriguez

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FILIPINO International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas aims for his ninth successful title defense as he faces Mexican Jonathan Rodriguez at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut today, April 11.

Jerwin Ancajas (left) lands a solid hit on Jonas Sultan during their International Boxing Federation super flyweight fight.TOP RANK PHOTO

The bout is set at 9 a.m. (Philippine time) airing live on the One Sports+ Facebook page.

Carrying a 32-1-2 win-loss-draw record with 22 knockouts (KOs), Ancajas tipped in at 114.8 lbs while Rodriguez, boasting a 22-1 record with 16 KOs, measured exactly 115 lbs during the official weigh-in on Saturday.

The fight between the 29-year-old Ancajas and the 25-year-old Rodriguez is finally pushing through after two postponements. It was initially scheduled on November 2019 but was reset to April 2020 as Rodriguez failed to obtain a US visa. It didn’t pan out either in April last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This will be Ancajas’ first fight in 16 months since he stopped Chilean Miguel Gonzales by way of a sixth round knockout on December 2019.

“I am very ready. It’s been a long time since the last time I fought. We’re ready,” Ancajas told The Manila Times in Filipino.

“I want to defend this title because every fight is important to me. That’s why I’m always going to keep this,” he added at a press conference on Friday.

The pride of Panabo, Davao del Norte, Ancajas is facing Rodriguez, who went bonkers in his last two fights.

Rodriguez knocked out Julian Yedras in the first round on December 2019 and put Felipe Orucuta in a coma with a 10th round knockout in June of the same year.

“They’re very ready too. I am friends with Rodriguez on Facebook, and they’re very prepared. He’s very determined to get my belt and so hungry that he won’t let this opportunity slip away,” shared Ancajas with The Manila Times.

Joven Jimenez, Ancajas’ trainer, added, “He is the prototype of a Mexican boxer who will really come at you and stake his life in the ring.”

But if Rodriguez is hell-bent on getting the belt from Ancajas, so is the latter in keeping it. Winning this fight will be Ancajas’ ticket to go up against the other stars such as World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion Kazuto Ioka of Japan after all.

“This fight will be action-packed because if he is determined to get my belt, so am I in not letting him get it. I really want to win this fight because this is the key for me to fight the other champions in my weight [class]. If there’s a chance to unify the belt, we’ll go for it.”

“Jerwin and I don’t want the Filipinos to be embarrassed,” added Jimenez.

The Ancajas-Rodriguez bout will be a closed-door event, but the Filipino’s mindset remains the same: fight!

“I got used to fighting with many people watching and cheering, especially when it’s a good fight or you’re getting tired. But my mindset is that: this is a fight regardless if there are people watching or not. It’s better if there are fans cheering you on, but at least, I can experience fighting in a ‘bubble,’” said Ancajas.

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