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Ancajas faces ‘Ultimate Warrior’

Jerwin Ancajas

MANILA, Philippines — IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas will be pushed to the limit when he takes on unbeaten Irish challenger Jamie Conlan, known as “The Mexican” because of his bell-to-bell fighting style, in a scheduled 12-round title bout at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, early this morning (Manila time).

Conlan, 31, enjoys a reputation as a throw-back Mexican warrior, like one of his idols Erik Morales, and enters the ring wearing a sombrero in his traditional march. Conlan likes to wear down his opponents with body shots and Ancajas won’t only try to cope with his ruggedness but also with a hostile crowd. But fighting on the road isn’t new to Ancajas who has won thrice in Macau, twice in Mainland China and once in Australia.

What makes Conlan a dangerous opponent is his big fighting heart. Thrice, he has survived trips to the canvas to win. In 2015, Conlan went down twice from body shots but got up to beat Mexico’s Junior Granados on a unanimous 10-round decision to retain his WBO Intercontinental superflyweight crown in Dublin. A year later, Conlan was cut under his left eye in the first round, took mandatory eight-counts in the third and seventh then knocked out previously undefeated Anthony Nelson with a body blow in the eighth to claim the British Commonwealth 118-pound title in Hackney Wick. 

Last March, Conlan performed another escape act as he brushed off an eighth round knockdown to pound out a split 12-round verdict over Nicaragua’s Yader Cardoza for the vacant WBC International Silver superflyweight diadem in Belfast. Boxing News writer Steve Wellings said Conlan finished the fight “battered, bruised and oozing blood from a cut to the left cheek.” “I always kept my self-belief,” said Conlan, the oldest of four boys and a qualified aircraft fitter. “This is ridiculous, nobody hits me in sparring. My feelings are mixed because I could’ve won more decisively.”

Conlan, who trains under Danny Vaughan at the MGM Gym in Marbella, Spain, posted a 107-11 amateur record before turning pro in 2009, four months after Ancajas’ debut. Ancajas’ record is 27-1-1, with 18 KOs. It will be Ancajas’ third title defense, a voluntary against the IBF No. 4 contender. The protagonists scaled the limit of 115 pounds at yesterday’s weigh-in. Ancajas will be paid a purse of $80,000.

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