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MANILA, Philippines – Jerwin Ancajas may have survived the onslaught from Fernando Martinez, but it was not enough to retain his International Boxing Federation super flyweight title.
Ancajas lost possession of the belt he had held for half a decade after a unanimous decision loss to Martinez at the Cosmopolitan Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, February 26 (Sunday, February 27, Manila time).
The three judges scored the bout 118-110, 118-110, 117-111 in favor of the Argentinian, with the Filipino champion succumbing in his 10th title defense.
Known for keeping his foes at bay using his jab, Ancajas was forced to engage in a slugfest as Martinez kept the pressure from start to finish with a barrage of bone-crushing power punches.
Ancajas appeared to find an opening at the end of third round when he staggered Martinez off a well-timed left straight to the head.
But that hardly slowed down Martinez.
Determined to win his first title shot in the memory of his late father, Martinez continued to pepper Ancajas until the final bell and connected on 421 power punches from 833 thrown, a staggering 51% conversion rate.
Ancajas displayed his toughness and durability by standing his ground amid the Martinez storm, but his swollen face proved the type of beating he suffered from his challenger.
Martinez hiked his unblemished professional record to 14-0.
“I’m happy that I was able to fight Martinez, who is an Olympian and a great boxer. He is good and tough,” Ancajas said in Filipino in the post-fight interview.
Ancajas had sought to tie the record for most title defenses by a current champion held by Thammanoon Niyomtrong, who has retained his World Boxing Association super mini flyweight title 10 times.
The pride of Panabo, Davao del Norte won the IBF title in September 2016 following a unanimous decision win over Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo.
He defended his belt against compatriot Jonas Sultan, Irish Jamie Conlan, Mexicans Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Israel Gonzales, and Alejandro Santiago, Japanese Teiru Kinoshita and Ryuichi Funai, and Chilean Miguel Gonzalez.
Ancajas’ latest title defense came against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez in April last year.
But Martinez turned out to be completely different from any of Ancajas’ foes, throwing the Filipino off his game behind his incessant attacking approach.
Ancajas landed only 192 of his 816 punches thrown for a measly 24% rate as he suffered his first defeat since March 2012 and dropped to a 32-2-2 record.
Initially seeking a unification bout with Japanese World Boxing Organization titlist Kazuto Ioka, Ancajas now turns his focus on regaining his belt from Martinez by invoking the rematch clause.
“If we fight again, I will do better because I know Martinez is good. In our next fight, we will do our best to get back the championship.” – Rappler.com