Filipino fight fans are already considering who among the young boxers will become the next Manny Pacquiao although the 39-year-old boxing legend, who is also an incumbent senator in the Philippines, has yet to officially hang up his gloves. One of the names that come to mind is Jerwin Ancajas.
On September 3, 2016, Ancajas won the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Junior Bantamweight title by defeating McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico. After this, the 26-year-old Filipino boxer successfully defended his title four times.
In 2017, Ancajas retained the IBF Junior Bantamweight title by successfully defending it from Jose Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico, Teiru Kinoshita of Japan and Jamie Conlan of Northern Ireland. On February 3, 2018, Ancajas retained the title again by defeating Israel Gonzalez of Mexico.
After defeating Gonzalez, Ancajas was given a warm welcome in his home country. One of those who welcomed him was Pacquiao.
On February 9, 2018, I met Ancajas at the open workout held by Ringstar Boxing at the Kerry Sports Gym in Taguig, Metro Manila. He appeared as a special guest to support his fellow Filipino boxer Jeson Umbal and Singaporean boxer Muhamad Ridhwan.
In my short interview with Ancajas, I asked him about his personal encounter with Pacquiao. After some congratulatory remarks, the senator-boxer gave Ancajas one piece of advice, the latter recalled.
“(Pacquiao) simply told me to be humble,” Ancajas told me. “(Pacquiao told me) that there is no way to reach the top if you are not humble.”
While flattered by being referred to as the next Pacquiao, Ancajas believes that there will always be one Pacquiao. Ancajas explained, “I can follow his examples but I cannot become him.”
Currently, Ancajas holds a professional boxing record of 29 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw. He is scheduled to fight his fellow Filipino boxer Jonas Sultan in Las Vegas on May 26, 2018.
Meanwhile, here is a clip from the open workout of Ringstar Boxing with Umbal and Ridhwan: