Tuesday, March 28, 2023  |


Ancajas tees off on Rodriguez, retains junior bantamweight title

Photo by Ryan Songalia
Fighters Network

Jerwin Ancajas made the first successful defense of his IBF junior bantamweight title, stopping challenger Jose Alfredo Rodriguez one second into the eighth round on Sunday at The Venetian in Macau, China.

Rodriguez was checked on by a ringside physician after complaining of shoulder pain and was ultimately ruled unfit to continue following the seventh round.

Ancajas (26-1-1, 17 knockouts), of Panabo City, Philippines, had landed target practice throughout much of the fight, painting Rodriguez (32-5, 19 KOs) with right jabs and left crosses as the challenger pressured the fight from the opening bell. Ancajas, who defeated McJoe Arroyo last September by unanimous decision to win the title, may have won every round despite his opponent’s aggression.

“It was his best performance yet,” said trainer/manager Joven Jimenez. “He improved in everything. That’s what we want [him to be], a complete fighter.”

“It was a great fight with lots of exchanges. At the end Jerwin was just too big and strong for Jose and broke him down for the stoppage,” says international matchmaker Sean Gibbons, who works with MP Promotions, which handles Ancajas.

If Ancajas’ title win was his test of character, the win over Rodriguez was his showcase performance as he displayed his punch arsenal with free-flowing combinations while mixing in hard body shots, particularly with his right hook.

Jimenez said Ancajas, rated No. 8 at 115 pounds by The Ring, will likely fight again in April or May in the Philippines but said those details are up to MP Promotions’ Michael Koncz and Gibbons. Gibbons suggested that Ancajas could fight on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s next fight, which is being targeted for April 23 potentially against Australian Jeff Horn.

Asked if he felt Ancajas could beat the division’s top guys, including pound-for-pound champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and WBO titleholder Naoya Inoue, Gibbons said, “Jerwin is heading down that path, but he needs a little more experience.”

Rodriguez, the IBF’s number 15 ranked contender from Mazatlan, Mexico, had previously challenged for a world title in 2012 but was stopped in 6 rounds by Kazuto Ioka for the vacant WBA junior flyweight title.

The win was the 25-year-old Ancajas’ twelfth stoppage in his last 13 fights dating back to his lone career defeat, a majority decision loss to Mark Anthony Geraldo.

Ancajas, whose cut from the Arroyo fight was just $3,750, is set to make $40,000 USD for this fight. Ancajas is one of 3 current Filipino world champions, including his promoter and WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and WBO bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales.

In the co-main event, heavyweight Carlos Takam (34-3-1, 26 knockouts) rebounded from his decision loss to Joseph Parker with a violent fourth-round knockout of Marcin Rekowski (17-5, 14 KOs). Takam landed a hard left hook to Rekowski’s chin as he turned his back from punches, sending Rekowski face-first unconscious, where he remained for several minutes.

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.