This coming month is a really busy one with dozens of interesting bouts all around the globe on an almost daily basis. The first of those takes place on September 3rd and sees exciting Filipino Jerwin Ancajas (24-1-1, 16) getting his first world title fight, as he finally gets in the ring with IBF Super Flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo (17-0, 8).
We say “finally” as this bout was first arranged much, much earlier this year, before Arroyo was forced out of the contest due to an injury, an injury that was only made public about a week before the bout. Despite the wait we're expecting to see both men showing serious hunger and the intent on proving their ability and opening the avenues for some big money title defenses in the near future.
Of the two men the one better known internationally is 31 year old Arroyo, the twin brother of recent Roman Gonzalez opponent McWilliams Arroyo. The Puerto Rican champion was a former standout amateur who has slowly carved out a good career, but that feels relatively under-whelming given his amateur pedigree.
Arroyo turned professional in 2010 and after running up 10 straight wins over limited opponents he stepped and stopped veteran Jose Lopez. Since that win he has gone 6-0 (2) securing solid wins over Hernan Marquez, Mark Anthony Geraldo and, most recently, Arthur Vilanueva. The win over Villanueva saw Arroyo claim the IBF title, but impress nobody winning a pretty poor decision in a fight that was marred bar head clashes and styles that simply didn't gel. Despite that bout failing to set the world alight Arroyo is a talent and his dominant win over Marquez showed that.
In the ring Arroyo, at his best, is a very accurate, well schooled, all-rounder. He doesn't have lights out power or lightening speed but he is a very smart boxer with respectable power, solid speed and excellent timing. He's a thinking boxer and a good one at that. Notably however he hasn't fought in over a year, since the win over Villanueva, and that may hurt his timing coming in to this bout. If his timing is off it will take time for him get up to speed hare against a fast and explosive opponent.
If there is a word that fits Ancajas, to a T, is explosive. He's fast, he's accurate, exciting and hard hitting, as well as being a southpaw. There is however question marks regarding whether his power will hold up at world level and whether he'll be able to fight his usual style against a world class opponent, or whether he will have to tighten up and be less fan friendly.
Aged 24 the Filipino “Pretty Boy” is currently riding an 11 fight stoppage run, following his only loss. That loss, to Mark Anthony Geraldo, was a razor close one and seems to have really helped Ancajas develop into a fighter with more killer instinct. Whilst Geraldo is the best opponent Ancajas has fought he has come a long way since that loss, that occurred more than 4 years ago when both fighters were just 20. Although he has come a long way he still lacks a genuine stand out win, but could change that here.
With home advantage and a hunger to prove himself this is a huge opportunity for Ancajas to add his name to the mix at 115lbs. He's the under-dog but a live one and one who knows he's got everything to gain, including revenge for Arroyo's wins over Villanueva and Geraldo.
Given recent performances by Filipino fighters like, like Marlon Tapales in Thailand, Jonriel Casimero in China and Rene Dacquel in Japan there is some real momentum in the countries boxing scene, buoyed further by Manny Pacquiao's imminent ring return. Given that momentum we suspect Ancajas will over-come his more established foe here.
Last weekend we saw the probable end in the historic career of Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao. The fighter-turned-politician has been the dominant force in Filipino boxing for more than a last decade, scoring wins over the likes of Chatchai Sasakul, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Timothy Bradley.
Pacquiao's retirement will leave a sizeable hole in Filipino boxing, however there are a lot of fighters coming through the ranks each looking to fill, at least a part of that hole.
One of those is the really exciting Jerwin Ancajas (24-1-1, 16) who gets his biggest fight this coming weekend, as the “Pretty Boy” faces IBF Super Flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo (17-0, 8), an unbeaten Puerto Rican.
Ancajas has been one of the many Filipino fighters who has generally been going under-the-radar in recent years. The talented Filipino isn't a name many international fans will recognise, and may never have seen, but he has been showcased on a few of Top Rank's cards in Macau where he has shown some very genuine ability to be a star.
The youngster combines good looks with incredible speed, unerring accuracy, blistering combinations, spiteful power, a southpaw stance and at 24 years old he also has youthful energy the ring. Notably he is some 4 years removed from his sole loss, a close decision to Mark Anthony Geraldo, since then he has improved drastically and run up a perfect 11-0 (11) record.
For Arroyo the fight will be his first defence of the title he won last Summer, when he took a very controversial technical decision over Arthur Villanueva. That bout saw Arroyo show glimpses of real ability early in the contest, before becoming tired or lazy and doing very little after round 5. That laziness was surprising given that Arroyo had shown good ability to fight through the later rounds in wins over Mark Anthony Geraldo, a 12 round decision win, and Hernan Marquez, an 11th round TKO win.
At his best Arroyo is a very talented boxer, with under-rated power, a tricky southpaw stance with very good patience, a great understanding of distance and timing and an impressive boxing mind. The laziness however is an issue, there question marks, now at least, about his stamina and mental capacity for the sport and he has been dropped in the past, by Jairo Hernandez. In fact some ringside observers suggested that Hernandez did enough to at least deserve a draw.
On paper it's easy to favour the unbeaten champion. He has the most notable wins, he's unbeaten, he's the champion and he's the man with the outstanding amateur pedigree. He did however look very flawed in his title win, despite the official scores, and he will be going away from home for this bout, fighting in Asia for the first time. For Ancajas the opportunity of shocking the world and becoming one of the new faces of the Filipino boxing scene will be a huge incentive to put on the performance of a life time.
We know he's the under-dog, but we can't help but think Ancajas's speed, energy and combinations, as well as home advantage, will see him through to a win here against a talented but flawed champion
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.