By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
IBF world junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (33-1-2,22KO’s) had an online video conference Wednesday morning attended by members of the Philippine sports media and other local boxing stakeholders.
Last April 10, Ancajas engaged Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-2,15KO’s) in a twelve round ring war and prevailed by unanimous decision to retain his title at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Ancajas, a reservist with the Philippine Navy, returned to a hero’s welcome last week at the Manila Airport but celebrations were toned down due to the ongoing pandemic. He also had to undergo the required arrival quarantine protocols.
During Wednesday’s press conference, he talked about the difficulty of preparing for a fight that was postponed several times. He was away from the ring for sixteen months. He also talked about his tough opponent who earned his respect. He said Rodriguez proved everyone wrong, referring to those who predicted an easy defense.
This was the ninth defense of the title he won from Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo in September 2016.
He then repeated his wish to face Juan Francisco Estrada, who has the WBA and WBC belts in a unification clash. He expressed confidence that he can take on the highly regarded Mexican.
Unfortunately, he is seemingly boxed out in a talent rich 115 lb dvision that includes Estrada , Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai , and Japan’s Kazuto Ioka (WBO) . And now, another Filipino legend, the ageless Donnie Nietes, recently staged a comeback.
This writer threw Ancajas a question, asking him if he has any plans to move up to bantamweight. If a fight against Estrada does not happen, then maybe a battle against Japan’s Naoya Inoue at 118.
But Ancajas wants to stay at 115lbs for now. He targets September as his next fight date and hoping it will be a big name in the division.
Ancajas’ situation brings back memories of another Filipino great, Luisito Espinosa, who despite seven successful defenses of the WBC Featherweight title during the 1990’s, could not land a big fight against the division’s superstar Naseem Hamed.
After winning the IBF title in the Philippines, Ancajas had all of his defenses overseas. He said he would like to defend his crown in front of his countrymen. But this year would be diificult.
GAB Chairman Baham Mitra, who attended the conference, talked about the logistics difficulty for bringing in a foreign boxer who will undergo quarantine and testing. All sports events in the country are also being held behind closed doors.
Ancajas also talked about his immediate plan to assist Olympic hopeful, middleweight Eumir Marcial in his training and quest for the Philippines’ first Olympic gold.
File Photo- Jerwin Ancajas at the Elorde Awards 2018
Later today we'll see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, 22) attempt to make his 9th defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (22-1, 16), in what looks like a really good bout in on Showtime.
Despite looking like a good bout the match up is the latest IBF mandatory title fight, and in recent years they have become a bit of a joke, with the champions regularly defending without too many problems. In fact the whole "IBF mandatory challenger" thing is quickly becoming a poison chalice that no fighter should be wanting to hold.
Despite the recent history of mandatory challengers being easy for the champions we are really interested by the odds for this match up, with the champion being an almost unbackable favourite. The talented Ancajas is a 1/6 favourite to retain his title, and record his latest defense. The challenger on the other hand is best priced, at least in the UK, as a 13/2 under-dog, a tempting price by usual standards. The draw is 28/1.
Whilst Ancajas being the favourite is completely understandable, it is worth noting that this will be his first bout in well over a year, and ring rust could be a serious issue for him against a big, strong, powerful fighter like Rodriguez.
For those backing Ancajas they may find the "Method of Victory" market more appealing. Here we find Ancajas by stoppage at 4/6 and a decision for Ancajas at 9/4. Notably Ancajas is 8-0-1 (6) in world title fights and the odds of a stoppage do seem be playing on that history of his at world level. As for Rodriguez, he is 12/1 to get a stoppage and a huge 16/1 to win a decision over the talented Filipino.
Given the odds on an Ancajas stoppage it'll be little surprise to learn that this bout is not expected to go the distance. In fact the bout is 1/2 to finish early and 2/1 to go the scheduled 12 rounds.
Again, although we understand Ancajas being the favourite, we do wonder if he'll be looking to shake ring rust here and will maybe even struggle with his timing and pacing given such a long lay off. IF that's the case maybe there is some value for the smart bettor.
Related - Ancajas and Rodriguez face off... at last!
Later today we'll see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, 22) defending his title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (22-1, 16), in what will be the 9th defense by Ancajas. Yesterday the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout, and both men made the 115lb limit with no issues.
On the scales the Filipino champion was 114.8lbs and looked in good shape, whilst the Mexican challenger was bang on the divisional limit at 115lbs, and also looked in really good shape.
Originally this bout had been organised for late 2019, before falling through at very short notice due to visa issues with Rodriguez. That leady to Ancajas having a lower quality defense in December 2019, in what is his most recent bout. Sadly that means he's been out of the ring now for around 16 months, with no fight at all in 2020, and there are question marks about how sharp and crisp he will look here.
As for Rodriguez he will be looking to build on back to back wins over notable opponents, Felipe Orucuta and Julian Yedras.
Sadly Ancajas has been a world champion now for well over 4 years, but lacks a genuine top tier win as a champion. He has impressive performances, he has travelled the world as a champion and he has taken on multiple mandatory challengers, but his resume lacks a genuinely big win. If he gets past Rodriguez he then, really, needs to chase a big fight. As for Rodriguez this is a chance to put himself on the boxing map, and he'll know that a win would be career changing and open the door for him to have some potentially huge bouts down the line.
Related - Ancajas and Rodriguez face off... at last!
(Photo by Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME)
When we talk about long running saga's in boxing maybe none are as easily over-looked as the match up between IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, 22) and Mexican fighter Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (22-1, 16).
The bout was first pencilled in for November 2019, though had to be cancelled at short notice when Rodriguez failed to secure a visa to fight in the US, resulting in Ancajas taking a super short notice defense against Miguel Gonzalez in December 2019 instead, which Ancajas won in 6 rounds. The bout was then mooted against for February 2020, as part of the Tyson Fury Vs Deontay Wilder II show, before failing to materialise. The bout was then reportedly in the works for the January, before again vanishing without a trace.
Now it appears we have a new date for the bout, April 10th, in Uncasville, Connecticut.
On Friday Keith Idec, reporting for BoxingScene, revealed the bout was set to be part of a Showtime triple header on April 10th, alongside a mouth watering bout between Jaron Ennis and Serget Lipinets and a bout between Eimantas Stanionis and Thomas Dulorme.
For Ancajas the bout will serve as his 9th defense of the IBF Super Flyweight title, with the Filipino already having more defenses of the belt than anyone else in the title's history. It will also serve as an over-due mandatory, which is why this bout is still on the radar after such a lengthy wait for it to take place.
More notably it will be Ancajas' first since leaving Top Rank earlier this year his first with PBC and his first bout, of any kind, since December 2019, when he defeated Miguel Gonzalez as previously mentioned.
As for Rodriguez the bout is a massive step up in class, and another example of the IBF enforcing a rather low quality mandatory title challenger. Rodriguez was last seen in the ring stopping Julian Yedras inside a round last December, the same Julian Yedras who had lost his previous 5 and was more than 5 years removed from a win. Prior to that his only other noteworthy win was his 2019 victory over Felipe Orucuta, which sadly ended Oructa's career.
In a division as deep and interesting as the Super Flyweight division, we do need to wonder how the IBF keep coming up with such limited mandatory challengers for Ancajas. These have previously included Ryuichi Funai and Teiru Kinoshita. Fingers crossed that if he wins here better fights are to come in the future for the Filipino "Pretty Boy".
For those wanting to read Keith Idec's story breaking the news on this fight that's available here.
Sometimes it can be hard to remember what bouts have been spoke about over the last 18 months or so, especially with what's gone on in 2020. One bout that we suspect some may have forgotten about is a contest between IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, 22) and Mexican foe Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1, 15).
The bout was originally scheduled for November 2019 before Rodriguez failed to secure a visa. Then they tried to reschedule it for February 2020. The bout, certainly not one of the most interesting out there at 115lbs, was then thought of as being one that vanished into the ether, and to be fair it wasn't a particularly great one anyway.
Now it appears the bout has risen again with the excellent Ian Melodillar reporting the bout is indeed still in the works, with a January date now being eyed for the bout.
The bout will serve as Ancajas' 9th defense, but will see him continue on a line that has seen him widely criticised for the low level opposition and failure to secure a big name fight, since winning the title back in 2016. Although a genuinely talented fighter the 28 year old "Pretty boy" has been sat on the outside, looking in at the WBC merry-go-round, featuring Roman Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Juan Francisco Estrada and Carlos Cuadras.
The 25 year old Rodriguez isn't a bad fighter, not by any stretch, but he's also not proven himself as a world class one, and his one stand out win came in June 2019 against Felipe Orucuta, a solid contender who had to retire after the bout following a brain injury. That one win aside there is little on his record, and there is little demand for this fight, even among those who follow the division.
Still if the bout takes place early in the year it may a good purpose in letting Ancajas shake some ring rust after 13 months out of the ring, and then some bigger and better bouts could be lined up for him through 2021. At least that seems to be the hope.
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