Last week it was confirmed that the Belfast super fly will challenge IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas [27(18)-1(0)-1] at the SSE Odyssey Arena on Saturday November 18th – and Conlan is well acquainted with his upcoming Filipino opponent.
Ancajas made the second defence of his red belt in July in Brisbane on the Manny Pacquiao v Jeff Horn undercard, stopping Teiru Kinoshita in the seventh while Conlan watched on from ringside.
The Falls Road man was Down Under to support his younger brother Mick, who also featured on the undercard, and got some valuable spying in too.
Conlan described how “I got to see the first round and then the final couple of rounds from ringside and Jerwin was very impressive. Studying from close up, rather than on TV you get to hear the thud of a fighters punches. It can be daunting.”
“At the post fight press conference, The Japanese kid’s face was in bits. He was mentally and physically f*cked. And Jerwin’s just 25, still to hit his prime.”
“His manager introduced us and, up close and personal, I was a lot bigger.”
“He has been on my radar for a wee while now. Ancajas was a big underdog when he won the title, beating a very good champion McJoe Arroyo, a former world medallist and Beijing Olympian, over in the Philippines.”
Further analysing his opponent, Conlan noted that “for one so small, he’s extremely powerful but he’s not just a brawler and a banger. He started out nice and relaxed, patient in his approach. Like all the top Asian fighters around the weight, he’s extremely tough.”
“He’s got a good grasp of distance and range and systematically breaks opponents down. Once he gets inside, he’s shown a ruthless finishing instinct.”
“Though Jerwin’s a southpaw, he doesn’t really fight like a southpaw. He’s not a tall, awkward, elusive one. He seems easy enough to hit. He doesn’t fully capitalise on his southpaw advantage.”
30 year old Conlan admits he is up against it, but feels confident going into the bout.
‘The Mexican’ outlined how “I’d be an underdog against any of the champions but, looking at that list, Ancajas might be the weakest of the current crop.”
“My team need to scrutinise all his tapes and come up with a master plan. At premium level, every fighter is fit and capable. It’s the incidentals like home advantage and tactics on the night that make the marginal differences.”
“While he’s used to facing the Asian style, he could probably be outboxed from the outside by a big European, like myself. That’s what I need to do, to win the fight.”
“If Ancajas could drag me into a war, I’d have to go really deep. He drowned Kinoshita. Remaining disciplined would be the key. I don’t have a great track record!”
“I’m entering this fight with big self-belief that I can bring home the bacon. There’s still a heck of a lot that I’m capable of, that I’ve not yet shown.”
“I really rate him and I know I’m going to have to be at my very, very, very best to beat this guy but it’s a fight I wholeheartedly, one hundred percent believe I can win. I’m very excited, I’m excited to put on a great performance for the Belfast fans.”