Ancajas says amateur career of ‘around a hundred’ bouts helped shape pro path
The future isn’t clear yet for Jerwin Ancajas as a worldwide health crisis has pushed sports out of the limelight. So the IBF World super flyweight champion has had a lot of time to look back on his career.
Going over his last nine fights that included his title-winning conquest of McJoe Arroyo, Ancajas said he only rues one result—a split draw with Alejandro Santiago Barrios that blemished a juggernaut stretch where he either stopped an opponent or earned the nod of judges unanimously.
The 28-year-old southpaw said the Barrios result stings him to this day because he feels he could have come out of that 2018 bout on top.
“We were actually surprised with his style because we saw in our video reviews of his previous fights that he’s a fighter who engages and fights aggressively so that’s what we simulated in training,” Ancajas said in Filipino in a Zoom interview with the Inquirer over the weekend.
“So in the first round I went at him but we were surprised because he changed his style so the strategy we trained for was changed,” added Ancajas, who went on to stop Ryuichi Funai and Miguel Gonzalez after that draw. “In the fourth and fifth rounds, coach [noticed] he changed styles. Alejandro was a difficult opponent because he’s smart and I think he’s now the WBC [International] champion at 122 pounds.”
Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 knockouts) said that his background in amateur boxing saved the fight from being a total disaster for him. Forced to abandon Plan A against Barrios (21-2-5, 11 KOs), Ancajas switched gears midway to force the draw, which the judges scored 116-112, 111-118, 114-114.
Ancajas, who turned pro as a 17-year-old, estimated that he had fought “around a hundred” times during his amateur career that saw him win several national championships, including a gold medal at the Palarong Pambansa.
He added that amateurs get nowhere near the preparations pro boxers get for a fight.
“In the amateurs, the only time you can study your opponent is [during] the fight itself,” Ancajas said. “You have to adjust on the fly.”
“Before, there were weekly tournaments that would last five days then I’ll join another tournament and when there are so many boxers in one weight class you don’t have a choice but to fight almost nonstop,” he added. “Basketball players are lucky because they can rest in game and they can go to the bench. Boxers are always beaten up.”
“You’ll get really tested in the amateur ranks that’s why I’ve observed that the better boxers were the ones who spent some time as an amateur before turning pro.” INQ
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