Former world boxing champion Jerwin Ancajas had just wound up another day of intense training when he learned about the bad news.
He had to pinch himself to check if he was just dreaming.
When he realized that he was wide awake, he had to ask around to confirm if his 15 November showdown with defending champion Takuma Inoue had indeed been postponed.
Pretty soon, the camp of the World Boxing Association bantamweight champion issued an official announcement on social media.
It was heartbreaking.
“We were getting ready for our trip to Tokyo,” Ancajas told DAILY TRIBUNE from his Las Vegas training camp on Tuesday (Monday night in the United States).
The plan was for Ancajas and his team to fly out of Los Angeles on 3 November so they could acclimatize and adjust to the time difference in Japan.
But Ancajas will have to wait a while before he gets a chance to win a world title.
“I was told that it could be rescheduled for January or February of 2024,” Ancajas, in his soft and mellow voice, said.
Inoue, who was making his first defense of the title, suffered a rib fracture and will have to call off his training for four weeks.
“Doctors have advised him not to engage in training for four weeks so it will take a while before he could resume his workout,” Ancajas added.
For Ancajas, the postponement came not only as a shock but a painful blow to the gut.
As luck would have it, this was the third time Ancajas had experienced a postponement or a cancellation.
In late-October of 2019, he was supposed to defend his International Boxing Federation super-flyweight title against Mexican Jonathan Rodriguez in Carson, California.
Two days before the fight, the bout was scrapped owing to Rodriguez’s visa issues.
Two years later, Ancajas was slated to meet Kazuto Ioka but the coronavirus pandemic cancelled it as Japan closed its borders.
Still, Ancajas, though heartbroken, is moving on and looking forward to the rescheduled date.
“At least, the fight was not cancelled but was just postponed,” he said.
To prepare for it, Ancajas and his chief trainer Joven Jimenez have reprogrammed their training schedule.
“We have decided to slow down in sparring. Instead of sparring more rounds, we will just do three or four rounds to keep in shape.”
Lending a hand to them are Jonas Sultan and King Arthur Villanueva.
Meanwhile, Ancajas has also accepted the fact that he won’t be coming home for Christmas.
“I thought I would be home not just for the holidays but for the birthday of my youngest child on 22 December,” Ancajas said.
But that won’t be the case.
“We have to sacrifice for the sake of our family.”