MANILA, Philippines – Thai bantamweight contender Pungluang Sor Singyu is banking on the assistance of one of AJ Banal’s Filipino compatriots to prepare for their Oct. 20 bout for the vacant WBO 118-pound title.
Sor Singyu (42-1, 27 knockouts) has enlisted the services of Jerwin Ancajas, a 20-year-old prospect from Panabo City, Philippines, as his chief sparring partner for his fight with Banal (28-1-1, 20 KOs), of Cebu City, Philippines, which will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.
Ancajas (15-1-1, 7 KOs) has been in Bangkok, Thailand for a week with trainer Romeo Desabille, working out with the 24-year-old Thai veteran at the 13 Coins Gym. Ancajas and Desabille will return to Manila on Oct. 15.
Like Banal, Ancajas is a southpaw, though he lacks the knockout power of Banal. Ancajas is noted for his ability to keep opponents off-balance by turning them and using his masterful right jab.
Despite both being from the Philippines, Banal and Ancajas have different promoters. Banal is promoted by ALA Promotions, which also represents WBO 105-pound titleholder Donnie Nietes. Ancajas is promoted by Sammy Gelloani, who has guided Marvin Sonsona and Johnriel Casimero to world titles.
After having sparred four times already with Sor Singyu, the young junior bantamweight is still leaning towards his countryman.
“For me, it’s Banal (who will win),” said Ancajas, who won a gold medal at the 2008 national amateur championships (in the Philippines). “As long as (Banal) won’t be overconfident or too complacent.”
Ancajas says he has been able to hurt Sor Singyu in sparring, “especially in the stomach.”
Desabille, who has worked with Ancajas since he was a nine-year-old amateur, said he isn’t concerned about criticism that Ancajas isn’t being patriotic by assisting Sor Singyu.
“We don’t care what they have said, the important thing is we experienced (sparring) with another nationality,” said Desabille, who trains Ancajas out of the Top Contender Gym in Muntinlupa City, Philippines. “It is a big advantage for us. It’s OK if it is a big issue for us.”
Desabille lauded the work of Ancajas against Sor Singyu but isn’t discounting Sor Singyu’s chances against Banal.
“The Thai has power and a big chance to win against Banal,” said Desabille. “He brings a lot of pressure and always goes inside to target with body punch.”
Ancajas is coming off his best victory to date, a 10th-round technical knockout of Miguel Tamayo of Mexico at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City three weeks ago. Desabille says Ancajas will likely fight next month, though no date has been set.
Photo / Jerwin Ancajas
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at [email protected]. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.