After more than a year of inactivity, Jerwin Ancajas' quest for respect finally continues again as he's all set to defend his International Boxing Federation super flyweight title against Mexico's Jonathan Javier Rodriguez at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, Sunday morning Manila time (9 a.m. livestream on One Sports Facebook page, 12 p.m. same day delay on One Sports+).
Ancajas, who weighed in at 114.8 pounds, will be heading into the ring with a record of 32 wins against a single loss and two draws with 22 of his victories coming via knockout. His challenger Rodriguez, 25, also has an impressive tally of 22 wins with 16 stoppages against a lone defeat. The Mexican had a bit of a weight issue, but ultimately tipped the scales at exactly 115 pounds.
"I'm happy to get the weight because that's my first opponent. Everyone knows it's been almost two years since I last fought so I'm excited. But I'm not overconfident because I know my opponent also prepared well for this fight," Ancajas said in Filipino during an interview with Noli Eala in his program Power and Play, Saturday morning.
"In his interviews, he said he's going to pressure me and that I have not fought anyone who can pressure like him," Ancajas, 29, said of his opponent.
"We've prepared for him and we're ready to make adjustments. He said he studied me for more than a year because this fight has been a long time coming but whatever they bring to the ring, I'll be ready."
After making weight, the focus now for Ancajas is to recover and get rest, according to his trainer Joven Jimenez.
"It's important that Jerwin gets good nutrition and enough sleep today and then tomorrow we'll be reviewing our game plan," the trainer explained about his fighter who had hovering just under the featherweight limit at 124 pounds.
Asked what his fight plan is for Rodriguez, Ancajas explained that it will be largely due to what the challenger brings to the table. The Mexican has been saying that he'll go for an all-out attack for Ancajas and his team are ready in case he said this just to throw the champion off.
"We'll base our style on what he brings to the table and then adjust accordingly," Jimenez said. "Jerwin's footwork is better and his punches are shorter and faster. If we have a chance, we'll attack him early but we'll study his style first."
According to Ancajas, Filipino fight fans should not worry about ring rust as he has been training non-stop even if he was not able to fight since defeating Miguel Gonzalez via technical knockout in December of 2019.
"Ever since I held this title, I have not stopped training. We knew the fight was going to happen at some point so we did not stop training even in the pandemic," the defending champion shared. "I train hard because I know a lot of fighters want to get this title and I'm not worried about ring rust."
Sean Gibbons, the President of MP Promotions, is expecting that the best is yet to come for Ancajas.
"He's better than he's ever been because he's added a few elements to his team including focusing on his diet. He's been training in the US for a while now and that also helped," Gibbons said. "This is going to be the best version of Jerwin."
Gibbons also added that Rodriguez is brimming with confidence, which should play right into the strengths of Ancajas.
"He's been telling everyone that he's knocking Jerwin out. He believes it's his time and he cannot be stopped," said Gibbons.
"But I see Jerwin coming out and figuring out what kind of guy is in front of him. Jerwin is a sharp-shooter and he'll steadily break his opponent down. Jerwin likes it when guys come to him because he can maximize his abilities. Maybe he'll stop him in the latter rounds or get a decision victory, either way is good as long as it's a win. I think this fight will steal the show. It will be the best fight of the night."
Also fighting in the undercard is Mark Magsayo who will try to keep his immaculate record. He has 21 wins under his belt with 14 knockouts although his last fight turned out a little tougher than expected as he won via split decision. Magsayo weighed in at 126.8 pounds while his opponent Pablo Cruz (21-3-0, 6 KOs) tipped the scales at 127 pounds.