The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Boxing / Jerwin Ancajas: A Champion Emerges from the Shadows

Jerwin Ancajas: A Champion Emerges from the Shadows

A champion emerges

While the post-fight attention on the Battle of Brisbane has been dominated by Manny Pacquiao’s controversial loss to Jeff Horn, boxing’s second largest event this year unveiled to an international audience a young champion who disposed of his challenger in probably the most memorable punch of the afternoon. 

Jerwin Ancajas, 25, the current IBF World Super Flyweight titleholder, defended his belt against Japanese challenger Teiru Kinoshita, in Brisbane, the second defense of the title he won in 2016 after defeating McJoe Arroyo in a relatively unpublicized fight in Manila. 

Ancajas’ dismantling of Kinoshita is best described as methodical, working the body through the first seven rounds, and finally knocking down the Japanese opponent with a picture-perfect right uppercut to the midsection. Kinoshita dropped to his knees, his right eye swollen and blood streaming from a cut above it, prompting a referee stoppage. 

Compubox statistics showed that as of the 7th round, Ancajas had thrown 299 punches of which 107 or 36% landed, compared to Kinoshita’s 18%. 

Humble Beginnings 

Ancajas was born in the southern Philippine city of Panabo, a suburb of Davao City, known as the political bailiwick of controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Ancajas was born to a family of farmers, his father worked in a banana plantation owned by a multinational company. 

In an interview with a Philippine television network, Ancajas said he got into boxing through his older brother who was training in a boxing gym in Davao City. When he was about eight years old, Ancajas started to accompany his brother to the gym and ended up training in the sport. 

His parents, especially his mother, was initially opposed to the idea of boxing, apparently fearing that he would drop out of school. But because the boxing amateur program required kids to study while boxing, his parents eventually agreed to his training.

Now a father of two boys, Ancajas trains out of Imus, Cavite province, a suburb of the Philippine capital of Manila. He is managed by Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, and is the first world champion managed by the eight-division world champion. 

The Road to Brisbane

Despite a fight record of 27-1-1 with 18 KOs, Ancajas has had little international exposure with majority of his fights in the Philippines. The first international glimpse of the young prospect was in 2014 where he fought on the undercard of Pacquiao and Chris Algieri in Macau, knocking out Tanawat Phonnaku of Thailand. 

The big break came after his defeat of Arroyo of Puerto Rico in September 2016. The fight, which was originally planned to take place as an undercard to Roman Martinez and Oscar Salido in Puerto Rico, ended up taking place in the Philippine Navy gym in Manila. It was a bout that was open to the public and lacked the publicity that usually comes along a title defense. Ancajas made just $3,750 from that fight, but went home with the belt.

The Filipino southpaw repeatedly attacked Arroyo to the body through 12 rounds, winning by unanimous decision the day after a bomb explosion in an open-air market in Davao City killed at least 14 people and injured more than 70 others. Ancajas was quoted by Philippine media as dedicating his victory to the people of Davao City. 

Ancajas’ first mandatory defense of his IBF title took place in Macau in January 2017, where he displayed the same tactical skills to defeat Mexican challenger Jose Alfredo Rodriguez at the Venetian Resort. He earned $40,000 from that fight, which went into the purchase of a house for his parents in Panabo City. 

Brisbane was Ancajas’ biggest international fight to date, with more than 50,000 in attendance at the Suncorp Stadium, and a record viewership for ESPN since the 1990s. He also made career-high earnings of $60,000. 

Ancajas’ impeccable performance in Australia may have been overshadowed by the controversy, but his manager Joven Jimenez hopes it opens new opportunities for the young southpaw. 


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Follow Sheila Oviedo on Twitter @sheila_uncut

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