Jerwin Ancajas excited to defend title vs undefeated Argentinian Olympian

Steve Angeles ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 25 2022 05:10 PM

Jerwin Ancajas will be making his 10th title defense against an unbeaten fighter in Fernando Martinez. File photo
Jerwin Ancajas will be making his 10th title defense against an unbeaten fighter in Fernando Martinez. File photo

It’s fight week in Sin City as Jerwin Ancajas puts his world title on the line against an undefeated Argentinian on Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time).

Ancajas has been the IBF junior bantamweight world champion for the past 6 years, and Fernando "The Puma" Martinez is looking to snap one of boxing's longest world title reigns in the Showtime-televised fight. 

"I’m excited to be here fighting in Las Vegas, this is the dream of every Filipino boxer. I’m really excited," said Ancajas. "Excited po ako." 

Martinez, for his part, said: "We are more than ready. This is something I have dreamt of since I was a kid, and I have been preparing my whole career for this opportunity. Jerwin is certainly a great champion, but I’m up for the challenge."

The 30-year-old Martinez competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics and went professional shortly after. He's won all 13 of his fights, 8 by knockout. He wasn't expecting a world title shot this soon. 

"I thought I was going to have a title eliminator fight first, but this came up. And I was like, hell yeah, I’m going to be ready for it. I am more than happy to be having this opportunity," he said.

"It will be something I dreamt of ever since I was a little kid, and it will be history for Argentina. It will also be making my mom and my dad who passed away 5 years ago proud."

Ancajas has only fought once since December 2019, beating Jonathan Rodriguez last April by unanimous decision.

His plans of unifying against WBO champion Kazuto Ioka of Japan last month was scrapped due to the Omicron surge. While he looks forward to that mega fight, he’s not overlooking the former Olympian. 

"Even though the opportunity to fight Ioka is there, we’re not looking past Martinez. We know he’s a good fighter, we’ve seen his style, amateur record. He’s good, we don’t want to think about the next fight. If we’re overconfident, we might let the Ioka fight go away. We’re here and focused, and not thinking about the next fight," said Ancajas.

To stay focused and in his best condition, Ancajas went to Las Vegas earlier this month, training alongside top contender Jonas Sultan and Olympic bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, with his long-time training coach Joven Jiminez giving glimpses of their training camp. 

The hard work will be put on display as Ancajas' defense is scheduled to be the first televised bout of the Chris Colbert vs Hector Luis Garcia card.