Ancajas the underdog looking for convincing win over Inoue

Ancajas the underdog looking for convincing win over Inoue

/ 04:20 AM February 19, 2024

Former IBF junior-bantam- weight champion Jerwin Ancajas. —DENISON REY A. DALUPANG

Former IBF junior-bantam- weight champion Jerwin Ancajas. —DENISON REY A. DALUPANG

There will be plenty of reasons for Jerwin Ancajas to win his latest match, but nothing compares to the one he has been holding on to since he began his professional career nearly 15 years ago.

“If you are truly a fighter, a boxer, you really look at the sport in a certain way. For me, whenever I step into the ring, I always want to win,” he told reporters in Filipino late Saturday evening in a hotel in Makati City just hours before his flight to Tokyo, Japan.


The purity of Ancajas’ intentions will be the driving force of the former champion when he challenges Takuma Inoue for the World Boxing Association bantamweight crown at the famed Ryogoku Kokugikan in the Japanese capital on Feb. 24.


“Ever since I was an amateur and now as a pro, that is how I’ve looked at boxing—to win the match, to finish the fight if I could,” Ancajas said.

Now 32 years old—a critical age for prizefighters, Ancajas is looking to give the Philippines its first boxing champion after Marlon Tapales yielded two of his belts to Inoue’s older brother Naoya, the undisputed super-bantamweight champion.

The Davao del Norte southpaw is also on a personal crusade, having fallen off relevance after losing his IBF junior-bantam belt and then losing in the rematch to Fernando Martinez of Argentina in 2022.

Ancajas (33-3-2) and the younger Inoue (18-1) were supposed to have clashed in November last year, but the latter sustained a rib injury that postponed the contest indefinitely.

Betting odds have installed Ancajas as an underdog for the Saturday duel, but his stopping power can prove a difference and throw all those prefight projections out of the window as he has 23 knockouts over Inoue’s measly four.

However, Ancajas doesn’t find such glaring disparity in knockouts and a recent fifth-round stoppage of Colombian Wilner Soto be compelling reasons to feel confident.


While he intends to deck his foe, Ancajas said he would rather bide his time against a tested enemy who could, for all we know, be feigning an injury, and put together a win before an expected partisan crowd.

“If there’s an opening [why not?], that’s what coach Joven (Jimenez) has been telling me,” Ancajas said of going for a knockout.

“We’ll be feeling each other out in the early rounds. We know that they also studied us and just as eager to throw something,” he said. “My experiences have taught me that once you’re in the ring, adjustments will be made.”

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Jimenez, acknowledging that Father Time is catching up with his ward, said the fight is a must-win.“Patay kung patay. Wala kaming sinasanto,” he said. INQ

TAGS: Boxing, Sports

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