Story and photo by Nick Giongco
Just hours after arriving in Manila from a 24-hour trip from Puerto Rico, defending champion McJoe Arroyo plunged into training at the Elorde Sports Center, looking forward to a rousing win over Filipino challenger Jerwin Ancajas this Saturday night.
Arroyo will be risking his World Boxing Organization junior-bantamweight crown for the first time against Ancajas, who fights out of Manny Pacquiao’s MP Boxing.
Joined by chief handler Peter Rivera and trainers Anthony Otero and Alex Caraballo, Arroyo says he has everything all figured out.
“I came focused on just one thing: winning,” said Arroyo, who spent two hours sweating it out at the gym owned by the late Flash Elorde.
“I know what I have to do (to retain the title),” added Arroyo, who won the vacant crown by beating King Arthur Villanueva last year in El Paso, Texas.
Ancajas has a 24-1-1 record with 16 KOs, while Arroyo has a 17-0 ledger with eight KOs.
The fight will be held at the Philippine Navy Gymnasium in Taguig City and will open to the public as a gift of Sen. Manny Pacquiao to fight fans.
Ancajas trained mostly in Tanay, Rizal, under Joven Jimenez but has now relocated to Imus, Cavite, in preparation for his first shot at the world title.
If Ancajas wins, he will become the fourth reigning Filipino world champion after super-bantam Nonito Donaire, bantam Marlon Tapales and fly Johnriel Casimero.