Super flyweight boxer Jerwin Ancajas has been out of the ring for a while, but he returns on April 10 against Jonathan Rodriguez.
Jerwin Ancajas is the IBF super flyweight champion, but inactivity has cost him ground in the boxing division’s popularity. He’s hoping that a strong performance on April 10 against Jonathan Rodriguez on Showtime make will make up for lost time.
Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 KOs) is one of four super flyweight champions, but he’s lagging far behind the others in terms of credibility. The boxer from the Philippines is immensely talented, but he’s been out of the ring for 16 months. During that time, the other champions and contenders have been fighting and opening eyes in the process.
Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez thrilled fans in March with their long-awaited rematch that ended as a nailbiter and in controversy. Estrada won but split decision, but many, including FanSided, felt that Gonzalez did enough to win convincingly.
Judge Carlos Sucre’s scorecard was scrutinized after he returned a score of 117-111 for Estrada. The WBA later suspended him.
Fans are anxious to see Estrada vs. Gonzalez three, but former champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai also has a score to settle with Estrada, and Gonzalez has old business with Sor Rungvisai.
Those three names capture most of the super flyweight fandom, but Japan’s Kazuto Ioka welcomed in the new year by stopping Kosei Tanaka to hand Tanaka his first loss while retaining his WBO title in the process. Tanaka upped his game and is a threat to the super flyweight’s big three.
Ancajas has been lost in the shuffle despite being a champion for nearly five years. An impressive victory over Rodriguez would help replenish his popularity as he hunts for a big fight in the future. Rodriguez’s (22-1, 16 KOs) record isn’t spotless, but he only has one loss and a 69 percent KO rating.
Even though Ancajas hasn’t fought for a long while, he isn’t frustrated with the lost time.
Jerwin Ancajas is ready to make his return against Jonathan Rodriguez and show that he’s a champion to be reckoned with.
“It hasn’t been frustrating being out of the ring for 16 months because we are always training and always in the gym,” said Ancajas during a recent media conference. “We always believed that a big fight was going to come. I stayed focused and stayed ready. From March until October, in the pandemic, I was able to train and stay focused. In October, I arrived to the U.S., and I’ve never stopped training. I feel very prepared to meet the challenge on Saturday night.”
Ancajas says that he’s ready for Rodriguez but his lack of urgency to return to the ring is puzzling. Surely Ancajas wanted to fight in that time, and COVID-19 disrupted his plans, but being out of boxing for so long has been bad for business.
His championship counterparts have earned accolades around the world, while Ancajas has become the forgotten champion. Ancajas realizes that this is his opportunity to shine and steal some of the spotlight back.
“Every fight, I always want to perform my best and put on a good fight because I want people to know my name,” said Ancajas. “Everybody always talks about Estrada, Chocolatito, and Rungvisai, so that’s why I’m excited to have this opportunity to showcase my skills and challenge those guys.”
It’s looking like Estrada and Sor Rungvisai will fight next, but a sensational victory over Rodriguez would go a long way in making Ancajas a desirable and marketable opponent for Gonzalez, Ioka, or Carlos Cuadras. If Ancajas had it his way, he would fight Gonzalez next.
“If I had to choose one name, I would want to fight Chocolatito because I always watched him on TV, and he’s my idol,” said Ancajas. “Now, if I have the opportunity to fight Chocolatito, I really want that fight.”
A contest with Gonzalez would be a big step up for Ancajas physically and financially. When Ancajas is at his best, he’s a tough southpaw with substantial punching power. It’s hard to imagine that 16 months away could have helped him, but Ancajas seems confident in his abilities and the future.
“It doesn’t bother me that everybody is always talking about Chocolatito and Estrada and those guys,” said Ancajas. “It’s a compliment. I know that one day it will come, and I will get the opportunity to fight those guys.”
You can watch Jerwin Ancajas vs. Jonathan Rodriguez on the undercard of Jaron Ennis vs. Sergey Lipinets on Saturday, April 10, on Showtime. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET.