By Nick GiongcoCORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Jerwin Ancajas found an unlikely ally in a standing torch that was placed inside the Neighborhood Boxing Center as he battled the cold air that came rushing into the gym during his hour-long training on Tuesday.
The eight-foot post was switched into high mode to aid Ancajas in getting warmed up as daytime temperature dropped to a low of 10 degrees just a few days before he defends the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title against Israel Gonzalez of Mexico.
As the gym assistant brought the torch inside and turned it on, Ancajas placed a mat almost underneath it and did his crunches.
Clad in a rubber track suit and black shirt on top, Ancajas also admitted that the blazing torch helped him get rid of excess poundage.
Before the workout, Ancajas weighed in at 120 lbs, five lbs above the division limit of 115 and his team swore that it was time for the 26-year-old southpaw to start reducing.
Moments before he stepped out of the gym to a waiting 12-seater van that brought him back to the Holiday Inn, Ancajas stepped on the scales and like what he saw.
“117 lbs,” said former world champion Rodel Mayol, who was tapped by Ancajas’ manager-trainer Joven Jimenez to assist them here.
Team Ancajas is not in panic mode.
In fact, the fighter even had beef soup and noodles late Tuesday after dozing off for a few hours.
The official weighin will be at 4 p.m. on Friday at the American Bank Center, site of the scheduled 12-rounder being staged by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.As fight night draws to a close, a few personages have started arriving in this laidback city that has the busy Gulf of Mexico serving as backdrop.
Sean Gibbons, Ancajas’ colorful US agent checked in while Joe Ramos, the official representative of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, whose MP Promotions has Ancajas under its banner, also blew into town.
Delfin Boholst, a long-time buddy of Ancajas and a former national team standout, was also recalled to help in the stretching. Aside from Boholst and Mayol, also asked to lend a hand is 1990 Asian Games gold medalist Roberto Jalnaiz, now based in Los Angeles.
Arum, 86, is also expected to come in Wednesday from Las Vegas to begin presiding over the several functions lined up leading up to the big night.
The main activity on Wednesday is a meet-and-greet at 6 p.m. with high-ranking members of the Filipino community here, mostly composed of top professionals from the medical field, attending the event.
As the number of Filipinos showing their support to Ancajas grew by the day, the IBF champion said that he simply can’t wait to get into the ring and take care of business.
“Super excited,” said Ancajas, who declined to assure a knockout win but nevertheless guaranteed everyone who bothered to ask that his mission is to leave a lasting impression.
“I have fulfilled one of my dreams…coming to America but my work is not yet done. I am raring to show my best because the best is yet to come,” he added.