Expect tough Sultan fight – Jerwin Ancajas warned
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 25, 2018 - 12:00am

FRESNO – It won’t be an easy defense for IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas when he takes on mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan in the first-ever world title fight between two Filipinos outside the Philippines at the 16,182-seat Save Mart Center here Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila).

Filipino boxing trainer and Freddie Roach’s chief assistant Marvin Somodio said yesterday he watched Sultan work out at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for three weeks and was impressed. Sultan arrived early from his base in Cebu City to acclimatize to US conditions accompanied by ALA stablemate Donnie Nietes and trainers Edito and Edmund Villamor. Ancajas flew in a week later.  It will be Sultan’s US debut.

“I watched Sultan work out and spar at Wild Card,” said Somodio. “He’s very determined to win. I don’t think he’s as skilled as Ancajas but he’s capable of winning. Sultan is like a Mexican warrior. He likes to pressure and break down his opponent. I don’t think he can knock you out with one punch but he’s a very patient fighter, matiyaga. He’s durable and he’ll wear you out. He’s in excellent condition. Ancajas should be prepared for a hard fight and can’t take Sultan lightly. Sultan’s coming to fight.”

Somodio was on his way to MMA legend Royce Gracie’s gym in Torrance yesterday morning when he phoned to share his insights on the coming fight. He’s been contracted to train Gracie’s 21-year-old son Khonry, a Bellator MMA fighter, in boxing for two hours each session. Somodio was recently awarded a plaque of distinction by the Filipino-American Community of Los Angeles for his achievements as a boxing trainer. Others who received awards were Ancajas, Nietes, Sultan and Las Vegas-based international matchmaker Sean Gibbons.

Former two-time world champion Gerry Peñalosa agreed with Somodio that Ancajas will have his hands full against Sultan. But like Somodio, Peñalosa predicted a win by Ancajas on points. “Sultan is hungry and that’s a big motivation to win,” said Peñalosa. “Sultan is awkward and could give Ancajas problems. But Ancajas is more experienced. He’s also more skilled. I expect a close fight.”

Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning trainer Justin Fortune said he’s watched Ancajas in action but not Sultan. “From what I’ve observed, Ancajas is quite a talent,” he said. “Is he the next Pacquiao? I don’t think so. There can only be one Pacquiao. Right now, Ancajas is a superflyweight. He can move up to bantamweight but I’m not sure if he can bring his power against bigger guys at 122.” Fortune said there will be a crowd for the title fight even if it’s between two Filipinos.

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