Filipino vs Filipino
The road to superstardom would always be tough for Jerwin Ancajas.
In a brutal sport that offers no guarantees, where a lucky punch is enough to change a career’s course, Ancajas knew his dream of achieving worldwide fame and validation would go through the toughest of trials.
But even by boxing’s vicous standards, Ancajas’ latest test is tricky as it is thorny. And it’s not just because his opponent has looked unbeatable in his last few fights. It’s because Ancajas will be facing a title challenge that not even iconic Manny Pacquiao has faced: A Filipino.
“For me, Filipino boxers fight with their heart, so I consider a Filipino opponent to be difficult in the ring,” Ancajas told ringtv.com after the weigh-in in Fresno, California, Friday.
Ancajas, who has stopped 15 of his last 16 opponents, will battle Jonas Sultan for the IBF 115-pound title, the first all-Filipino world title match in decades.
“It is God’s will that we are here, participants in the main event,” added Ancajas. “I thank Top Rank for the opportunity.”
Ancajas (29-1-1, 20 KOs) weighed in at 114.8, with Sultan (14-3, 9 KOs) registered 114.4. Ancajas may be the more popular fighter on the ring on Saturday but it would be a mistake for his corner to overlook Sultan’s last five fights, capped by a decisive victory over Johnriel Casimero.
“It has always been my dream to fight for a world championship, and this opportunity has come my way,” Sultan also told ringtv.com. “Throughout my career, and when I was young, this is what I dreamed of. I am going to go all out to win this championship.”
Whatever happens in Fresno on Saturday, at least there is a guarantee that a Filipino will remain world champion. But that means little comfort for Ancajas in the event of a defeat.
Largely pegged as the brightest Filipino boxing star at present, Ancajas knows a defeat to Sultan would subtract shine from the spotlight he currently basks in.
And so as guarded as he will be, he will come out with his best.
“Sultan is hungry for a world title fight, to prove he is the best,” Ancajas told badlefthook.com. “I am confident, but not overconfident, because he’s also Filipino. We are expecting a good fight for the fans.
“There are many great fighters in the Philippines, and I am happy that Jonas and myself can share this big stage. We are making history, and I am glad that we can fight to see who is the best.”
It’s the type of history Ancajas would have rather avoided. After all, no matter what happens, too, a Filipino will fall on Saturday. But the choice was made for him by destiny. And to fulfill his own, he has to face the Sultan challenge—and survive.
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