Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Ancajas’ power move

Among hadcore Filipino boxing fans, Heredia’s name speaks volumes

- THROWING PUNCHES NICK GIONGCO

Two days ago, the famed conditioni­ng coach revealed that dethroned world champion Jerwin Ancajas has joined his ever-growing list of clients.

Last week, doing a post-mortem of Ancajas’ heartbreak­ing defeat at the hands of Argentine slugger Fernando Martinez in Las Vegas, just about every Tom, Dick and Harry in the fight game suggested that the Filipino southpaw enlist in Heredia’s school.

But it wasn’t only until Sunday in the United States that a deal was reached involving the two.

You see, Ancajas, for all his talent, had been having difficulti­es making the super-flyweight max of 115 lbs.

During an on-site coverage of one of his defenses of the Internatio­nal Boxing Federation in the United States, I took photos of Ancajas, covered in thick blanket and wearing a tracksuit on the eve of the official weigh-in.

I knew, right then and there, that he was no longer comfortabl­e making 115.

But, all of a sudden, during a succeeding defense, Ancajas wasn’t as spent and exhausted making weight.

It was probably because he hooked up with dietitian Jeaneth Aro, known for her work with the country’s top athletes, including Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz. However, Aro’s stint as nutritioni­st was short-lived.

I knew, right then and there, that he was no longer comfortabl­e making 115.

After Ancajas made the eighth defense in Puebla, Mexico, in late-2019, Aro was no longer around when he fought the gutsy Mexican Jonathan Rodriguez in Connecticu­t in April last year.

Although Ancajas won via a unanimous decision, he ran out of gas in the last three rounds.

Against Martinez ten days ago, Ancajas still managed to fight fiercely but the challenger was simply in superb condition, hitting the champion with just about everything he could throw at him without getting into serious trouble.

Now that the mushroom cloud has dissipated, Team Ancajas has decided to tap Heredia’s expertise.

Among hadcore Filipino boxing fans, Heredia’s name speaks volumes.

The former Mexican track and field athlete had a hand in Juan Manuel Marquez’s sensationa­l one-punch knockout win over Pacquiao in 2012.

Almost ten years later, Heredia played a pivotal part in Pacquiao’s farewell fight against Yordenis Ugas, who is also one of Heredia’s clients.

Ugas, strong and sturdy, carved out an upset decision win to send Pacquiao into retirement.

Ancajas’ entry into Heredia’s world makes him the latest Filipino puncher to join the fast-growing fitness program.

But whether Ancajas and Heredia’s partnershi­p will pay off will be known in the coming months.

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