The super flyweight division is red hot right now and it was the turn of IBF titlist Jerwin Ancajas to take to the ring as he squared off against Jamie Conlan in Belfast this past Saturday. This was the champion’s third defence of the year having already triumphed on the road in Macao and Australia on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title loss to Jeff Horn.
After a fairly quiet opening stanza the challenger went down to what seemed like a delayed reaction but wasn’t abundantly clear. For some reason the challenger was attempting to box which only made things easier and more comfortable for Ancajas and a bad cut suffered by Conlan only added to the Belfast man’s problems. A relentless assault to the body proved too much for Conlan who was finally put out of his Mersey in round 6 and the Filipino had impressed yet again on away soil.
So where to next for the 25-year-old? Well, in a weight class that is full of top talent lack of big fights and credible opposition certainly isn’t an issue. Given that TV dates apart from those from the ABSCBN output deal with the ALA Gym are a real luxury, a home defence seems a nonstarter unless promoter Manny Pacquiao somehow manages to put together a final fair well encounter in front of his people. Also because of the poor infrastructure within boxing in the Philippines Ancajas will need to make sure his passport is valid as bouts on the road have become the norm for the vast majority of Pinoy pugilists.
At the top of most people’s lists would be a showdown with WBO boss Naoya Inoue who defends his crown against Yoan Boyeaux in Yokohama on the penultimate day of 2017. The Japanese KO artist has expressed a strong desire to partake in the Superfly 2 card which has been set for 24 February in LA. With HBO televising the bill and now involved at 115 lbs there could be bigger financial rewards on the table and hopefully the camps of Inoue and Ancajas can strike a deal and give us what would be a fascinating contest. The fight was reportedly close to being made for 30 December before Ancajas took the option of facing Conlan.
Another possible unification could come against WBA champion Kal Yafai who has looked solid if not spectacular so far. Both the UK and the US are feasible destinations with Eddie Hearn’s deals with HBO and Sky Sports providing the necessary finance to bring about this unification clash. Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez has so far hinted at continuing his career and Mexican Carlos Cuadras and Brian Viloria are also other possible alternatives. Japanese warrior Akira Yaegashi has stated he would like to win a 4th world title in as many weight divisions and at some point an all too rare all Pinoy matchup with Jonas Sultan will need to be navigated in a mandatory defence.
Finally Hong Kong’s Rex Tso continues to flourish in and out the ring and is on the lookout for a world title tilt. A genuine draw at home Tso is one of the most fan friendly fighters in the sport and is always value for money.