MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino world champion Jerwin "Pretty Boy" Ancajas hopes to step back into the ring in September, although his long-awaited unification bout against a fellow title-holder may have to wait.
Ancajas, 29, is coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory over Mexico's Jonathan Javier Rodriguez earlier this month, where he successfully defended his IBF junior bantamweight belt.
It was the ninth defense of his world title for Ancajas, who said afterward that he now hopes to challenge the big names in his division, like Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez, to high profile matches.
However, he revealed in a press conference on Wednesday that his wish may not come true this year.
"'Yung hinahanap namin na unification, sabi ni coach hindi magagawa ngayong taon na 'to," Ancajas said in the virtual event organized by the Games and Amusements Board, which served as an online "hero's welcome" for the boxer.
"'Yung mga ibang champion, may kanya-kanya silang schedule ngayong taon," he explained. "May pinaghahandaan na sila."
Ancajas is ready to move forward with a title defense of his own, although he is unsure as to who his opponent will be.
"Maghahanda kami sa depensa ulit. September daw, pero baka maurong," he said. "Ngayon, wala pang binibigay na pangalan."
If given the choice, however, Ancajas hopes to take on another Mexican in Estrada, who owns WBA and The RING versions of the super flyweight belt. The 31-year-old Estrada is considered the best in the division by The RING and BoxRec, among others.
"Hindi pa ako champion, pinapanood ko siya sa mga laban," said Ancajas. "Ngayon, may pagkakataon ako na makalaban sila, kukunin ko na rin 'yung opportunity."
Ancajas returned to the Philippines last week after spending several months in the United States. Currently, he is fulfilling quarantine requirements in Cavite.
The match against Rodriguez was his first in more than a year but the champion is in no rush to return to the ring immediately. Instead, he wants to give his body some time to recover while also aiding his good friend, Eumir Marcial, in his preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
"Kapag ganoon kasi na laban, kailangan mo din magpahinga," said Ancajas. "Minsan nga, pagkatapos ng laban, lalagnatin ka, hihina 'yung katawan mo. Kaya kailangan mo muna ipahinga."
"Sa akin, hindi kakayanin 'yung isa, dalawang buwan (tapos) laban na ulit," he admitted. "Kung sakali, 'pag mabigyan ako ng three months na preparation, ganoon 'yung gusto namin lagi."
While waiting for details of his next fight, Ancajas plans to go to Zamboanga, where Marcial is currently in camp. The Olympic-bound Marcial returned to the Philippines last week as well, after training at the Wild Card Gym since October 2020 and making his professional debut in December.
"Pahinga muna po kami, lalo na tumutulong kami kay Eumir," said Ancajas. "Gusto naming tulungan si Eumir sa kanyang pag-prepare sa Olympics. Pupunta po kami sa Zamboanga para tulungan siya."
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