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Jerwin 'Pretty Boy' Ancajas Relishes His Moment As World Champion

The IBF World Super Flyweight titleholder is more than just the 'next Manny Pacquiao'
by John Paulo Aguilera | Apr 18, 2018
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It's no secret that the country is currently on the lookout for its next superstar slugger.

With the Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao hogging the headlines for all the wrong reasons (his questionable sociopolitical moves and dimming career as pugilist), and the fighters supposed to be his heir apparent (Nonito Donaire, Donnie Nietes) falling short, the search for Philippine boxing's next big thing is still on.

One name, though, is slowly emerging from the crop of promising local boxers: Jerwin Acanjas. The Cavite-based southpaw, who is coming off a 10th-round TKO victory over Mexican Israel Gonzales, is the reigning International Boxing Federation World Super Flyweight titleholder and has been annointed by Top Rank Inc. top dog Bob Arum as the "next Manny Pacquiao."

FHM caught up with the man they call "Pretty Boy" during the launch of ESPN5's "Live Boxing Month" and asked him about the burden of these expectations, relishing the moment as world champion, and his upcoming sixth title defense against another Pinoy, Jonas Sultan.


What are your thoughts on Sultan, your next opponent?

Di naman na iba sa'kin, kasi nung nagsisimula ako sa boxing, karamihan Pinoy din yung mga kalaban ko. Nung nag-champion lang ako naging kalimitan foreign boxers. Ilang taon din bago ako lalaban ulit sa kababayan, na mas mahirap talunin. Yung tapang ng Pinoy, tapos kagustuhang manalo, nandun. Kasi nakikita ko kay Sultan kung ano yung nasa puso ko noon bilang challenger.

How familiar are you with Sultan's fighting style?

Nung laban lang nila ni (John Riel) Casimero ko siya nakilala nang mas mabuti. 'May katimbang pala ko na magiging kalaban ko, mandatory.' Nag-message siya sa'kin, nagbigay siya ng word of God, nagpasalamat ako. Nag-congratulate ako nung nanalo siya kay Casimero, pero hindi kami totally magkakilala ni Sultan.

What did you do differently in preparing for the bout against Sultan?

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Dito sa pang-lima kong title defense, mas maganda yung training namin kasi ang daming nagbibigay ng suporta, pagdating sa makakatulong sa gym at equipment. Nung una, kulang pa talaga kami sa strength and conditioning, wala pa kaming mga gamit. Maganda ang kondisyon ko sa laban na to kasi nakumpleto na namin yung team.

Do you feel that everyone wants to fight you after each successful title defense?

Nung nag-champion ako, talagang yun na yung iniisip ko, na ang daming boxer na katimbang ko, sa buong mundo na gusto akong makalaban. Kaya inisip din namin talaga na mag-training nang maayos at hindi magpabaya. Habang nandito pa yung titulo, ang nasa isip ko, kailangan kong mag-ensayo nang maayos at di ko pabayaan ang sarili ko.

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How has your journey been so far as a professional boxer?

Yung pakiramdam na parang ito na yung sukli ng ilang taong paghihirap ko sa boxing, lalo na malapit na kong mag-isang dekada. Nakamit ko na yung pangarap kong maging world champion,  ngayon gusto ko namang makatulong sa ibang boxer. Lalaban na si Mark (Barriga), sila Marvin (Sonsona) nagtiwala samin, kaya masayang-masaya na ko sa naging karera ko sa boxing.

What's it like being called the 'next Manny Pacquiao'?

Pag sinasabihan ako na, 'Ikaw ang susunod na Sir Manny,' halu-halo yung nararamdaman ko. Minsan pressure, nandun yung baka matalo ka, ang daming mga magba-bash sayo. Kaya sinasabi ko talagang wala nang tatapat sa nagawa ni Sir Manny. Kahit ako na boxer alam kong bihira na lang talaga ang may makakaabot pa sa ganun.

What prize are you keeping your eyes on?

Pangarap ko lang dati makahawak ng belt, masaya na ko kahit regional. Nung nagawa ko na yun, nangarap ulit ako, na sana maging world champion ako. Eto na, IBF Super Flyweight titleholder. Ngayon, yung pinaka-goal ko talaga, kung ano yung nakamit ko sa boxing, gusto ko ding makita sa kapwa ko boksingero.

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And finally, what are your thoughts on ESPN5 launching 'Live Boxing Month' this May?

Masaya, bawat boksingero naman, makita lang yung sarili sa TV, kakaibang tuwa na. Lalo na sa ESPN kilala talaga sa buong mundo. Hindi lang ako, pati mga kasama ko sa Survival Camp na makikita yung laban namin, makilala din kami.


ESPN5 has a massive lineup of in-ring entertainment in store for fight fans this May, including live programs (Jorge Linares vs Vasyl Lomachenko) and matches (Survival Instinct) on May 13

 

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