Ancajas stops Funai in 7th title defense

Roy Luarca
Ancajas stops Funai in 7th title defense
The Filipino champion rediscovers his deadly form after settling for a split draw in his previous title defense

STOCKTON, USA – Jerwin Ancajas displayed his old fiery form and battered Ryuichi Funai to win by stoppage and extend his reign in the International Boxing Federation super flyweight division at the Stockton Arena on Saturday, May 4 (Sunday, May 5, Philippine time).

Living up to his promise, Ancajas peppered Funai with sharp punches for 6 rounds, wobbling the Japanese several times and bloodying his face in the 4th round.

This prompted ring physician Gary Furness to examine Funai’s cuts before letting the Tokyo native to continue.

Rather than go for the kill, Ancajas played it patient in the 5th round, content with snappy left straights, before catching Funai with another left shortly before the bell sounded.

Rested, Ancajas resumed the pounding in the 6th round, rocking Funai with 1-2 combinations that caused blood from his cuts to ooze again.

Finding Funai unfit to continue, Furness asked referee Ed Collantes to stop the one-sided bout after the 7th round bell rang, sending Filipinos among the 10,000 crowd into celebration.

Already the world’s longest reigning super flyweight champion, Ancajas made his 7th title defense and improved his record to 31-1-2 with 21 knockouts.

The game but outclassed challenger fell to 31-8 with 22 KOs.

“I am dedicating this victory to my countrymen back home, the supportive Filipino community of this city, the Philippine Navy and the Marines,” said Ancajas. 

Though the fight was one-sided, Ancajas paid tribute to Funai for being a tough, durable foe.

Reaping the benefits of a monitored weight reduction program, Ancajas performed way better than in his last fight against Mexican Alejandro Santiago, who held him to a split draw last September in Oakland, California.

The impressive showing prompted chief trainer Joven Jimenez to declare that Ancajas will stay in the 115-pound division for his next fight tentatively set in September against Australian Andrew Moloney, according to Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.

International matchmaker Sean Gibbons, also the right hand man of Manny Pacquiao, confirmed negotiations will soon be held for Ancajas to face Moloney, the World Boxing Association Oceania champion, next.

Though Ancajas checked in lighter at 114.2 pounds against Funai’s 114.4 during the official weigh-in on Friday, May 3, the pride of Panabo City and adopted son of Magallanes, Cavite, was visibly heavier at a ripped 130 when they stepped into the ring.

Ancajas, Jimenez, and other Team Ancajas members, including nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, ring announcer Mark Lontayao, boxer Jerald Deniega, Brendan Gibbons, fight promoter Roel Kaamino, and Virgil Jimenez will travel by land from here to Las Vegas on Monday. They will proceed to Los Angeles on May 12 for the flight back to Manila.

Cutman Todd Makelim will head back to Australia on Monday with photographer Alvin Go flying back to Manila.

After all his efforts and sacrifices in training, spent mostly at Marine Base in Ternate, Cavite, Ancajas deserves a break. – Rappler.com

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