It's fair to say that Filipino boxing is riding a genuine high at the moment following big wins this year for the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Johnriel Casimero and Marlon Tapales. The latest Filipino to score a major win was Jerwin Ancajas (25-1-1, 16) who made the most of his opportunity earlier today and claimed the IBF Super Flyweight title, out pointing the previously unbeaten McJoe Arroyo (17-1, 8).
The fight started quietly with neither man wanting to take many risks, and although Ancajs was coming forward there was little of note from either man. It seemed a smart tactic from both, given that neither has fought this year, but it was clear that the fight wasn't going to remain a slow and cautious bout through out and the one that upped the pace first was going to be the one taking control.
The one that upped the pace was Ancajas who began to move through the gears in the middle rounds, and by the end of round 6 he was beginning to take control over the champion, who looked like a man who had no second gear to move in to. With Ancajas pushing the pace he began to really dominate and gave Arroyo a beating through round 7, 8 and 9, dropping the Puerto Rican for a count in round 8 and being unlucky not to get another knockdown scored in his favour the following round.
The key for Ancajas had been a steady body attack which took the legs and power from Arroyo, leaving him very flat footed and at times a sitting duck to more body shots. Although weary the visitor knew he'd have to do what he could to turn things around in the later rounds and started trudging, heavy legged, towards the challenger looking for a Hail Mary. The tactic was a foolish one from Arroyo, who lacked the footwork or hand speed to connect, and he was left chasing a speedier and fresher fighter who continued to land the eye catching shots.
With the knockdown, and the fact Ancajas was the one to take the initiative, it seemed like the Filipino had been the comfortable winner, and that was reflected on two of the cards, with scores of 118-109 and 117-110 telling the story of the fight, the third card however was far too close at 115-112.
For Ancajas this win is a career changing victory. It's taken him from a man being paid small sums as a fringe contender to a man who will be chased for a big fight either to end the year or in 2017. Given he earned less than $4,000 for this fight, turning down a much larger payday to travel, the gamble has paid off and potential money bouts with the likes of Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonzalez, Luis Concepcion, Kohei Kono, Sho Ishida, Carlos Cuadras or Takuma Inoue are looming.
Arroyo, who had won the title in a questionable manner last year against Arthur Villanueva, sees his reign and unbeaten record end in what was a genuinely poor effort. He proved his toughness and heart but looked very much like a third rate fighter coming up against some one who was hungry and talented.
When highly regarded unbeaten fighters collide for a world title we expect something special. We know that sometimes bouts don't quite come alive, but we do expect something more than a complete stinker. Unfortunately later on Saturday night we got a complete crap-fest that wasn't helped by some terrible officiating by both the referee and the judges.
The bout in question saw Filipino fighter Arthur Villanueva (27-1, 14) suffer his first defeat as he came up short on the score-cards against McJoe Arroyo (17-0, 8), in a shortened IBF Super Flyweight title bout. The bout, which was taken to the score-cards in round 10, never seemed to get going, though it wasn't down to eventual loser who seemed to be in the ring with the intention of fighting.
Through the first 2 rounds there was nothing, at all, to separate the men. Villanueva was the more active but wasn't landing a significantly high number of shots than Arroyo, who seemed to perhaps land the better shots. Through 2 rounds any score was possible, from 20-18, either way, to an even 20-20.
The first genuinely clear round of the first was round 3 which seemed to be a Villanueva round with the Filipino easily out landing his Puerto Rican foe. The Filipino seemed to build on his success and appeared to just take round 4 as well, though few would complain had it gone the other way.
In round 5 we again saw the Filipino seemingly doing enough to take another close, and competitive, round. Although the action was close it wasn't pretty, it wasn't exciting and it saw both men missing significantly more than they were landing. It was, for all intents, boxing chess and very dull, disappointingly so for a Super Flyweight title fight.
Despite Villanueva having real success in rounds 3,4 and 5, his momentum was cut in round 6 as he was deducted a point for, apparently, a deliberate headclash. The call was a terrible one, and originally it seemed even the commission had thought it was a poor call, until a replay assured them that the referee was being serious. Sadly for Villanueva the deduction far from his only issue as he was cut, from a subsequent headbutt, caused by Arroyo, that went unpunished from the referee who seemed to show his bias for the fight.
Through round 7 Villanueva seemed to have blood running down down his face from the cut though, for the most part, out boxed his foe and out landed him in what was one of Villanueva's best rounds of the fight. Despite a good round for the Filipino he was taken to the doctor twice,once earlier on and then again in the rest period between the rounds, interfering with any plans his time were wanting to give him.
Although the bout had failed to come alive in the first 7 rounds it was hoped the blood may force the action to pick up. Instead it seemed to drive on the Filipino and completely kill any desire Arroyo had with the Puerto Rican essentially spoiling through out the 8th round whilst the Filipino did enough to seemingly win the round, with out needing to do much at all. The 9th was even more disappointing with Arroyo doing next to nothing other than clinching his foe and refusing to fight. It seemed as if Arroyo had mentally quit.
If Arroyo had intention of trying to win it was seen in round 10 with Villanueva starting the round well whilst Arroyo did nothing other than hold. It was a pathetic round from the Puerto Rican before the referee took Villanueva over to the corner. This time the doctor had decided enough was enough, and seemed happy to put the fans out of their collective misery.
Due to the cut coming from a headclash we went to to the score cards and, given that Arroyo had done nothing for the final 3 rounds, it seemed like we were set to get very close cards. Sadly however the judges showed that they hadn't been watching the action and turned in very disappointing cards of 97-92, 98-91 and 98-91 all in favour of Arroyo. The referee had left his mark on the bout early but the judges left an even worse taste in the mouths of those watching the bout.
We'll admit we had Villanueva in a comfortable lead though we could easily understand a 95-94 lead to Arroyo. Those cards however were a disgrace and further showed how bad officiating is in Texas, US. Sadly though the commission have refused to act in the past, and they will again ignore was was essentially a disgracefully officiated contest.
For Villanueva this would have been a disgusting way to lose his unbeaten record, we just hope it's not his last chance at having a shot at a world title. It shouldn't be, but you never know in this sport. For Arroyo, he needs to thank his lucky stars that the officials were inept and handed him the IBF Super Flyweight title.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.