MANILA, Philippines—In the illustrious history of Philippine boxing, only one man has achieved the feat of becoming an undisputed champion.
Not even the legendary Manny Pacquiao attained that honor as pioneer Gabriel “Flash” Elorde holds that lone distinction, holding the WBC and WBA Super featherweight belts from 1963 to 1967 when there were only two sanctioning bodies.
Jerwin Ancajas, meanwhile, wants to add his name to that list as he aims to become the country’s first super flyweight undisputed champion.
Ancajas recently defended his IBF World super flyweight title in a barnburner against Jonathan Rodriguez and though enticing fights could take place in the bantamweight division, he’d rather collect three more belts in his weight class.
Becoming an undisputed champion, in this day and age, is not that easy. It’s not only the fighters who have the say but also their management and promoters who have to deal with the intricacies of the four bodies—WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO.
“We’re always trying to challenge the other champions so we can make our mark, if given the chance, in Philippine history,” said Ancajas in Filipino during a Zoom interview with Inquirer.
“But it’s hard because you’ll wait for a very long time because the other promoters are protecting their fighters and don’t want to put them in a fight. Us champions have different promoters and here’s also the pandemic so that’s why it’s been difficult.”
Ancajas has held the IBF title for almost five years already after taking the championship in September 2016 when he defeated McJoe Arroyo in Taguig—his last bout in the Philippines.
The 29-year-old Cavite native is also the longest-reigning champion in the division. Japan’s Kazuto Ioka hheld the WBO title in June 2019 while Juan Francisco Estrada first won the WBC belt in April 2019 before unifying it with the WBA Super strap this March when he beat Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
Ancajas said that while his handlers at MP Promotions and Premier Boxing Champions do with the office work, there’s still the fight itself as champions aren’t that keen to give away their belts easily.
“Negotiations are hard but fighting is even harder,” said Ancajas (33-1-2). “We all know champions won’t go down that easily, they won’t give their belt away that quick.”
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