By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
IBF world junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas made a successful return after a sixteen month layoff and turned back the spirited challenge from Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
It was a bruising encounter that went the distance. Ancajas, from Davao del Norte in the Philippines, showcased his boxing skills and shook the challenger early in the fight. But Rodriguez remained aggressive and kept the pressure. Rounds were highlighted by heavy exchanges to the body and head.
The boxers fought at a torrid pace, the defending champion’s accuracy seemed to give him a slight edge past the halfway mark. Ancajas cornered Rodriguez in the eighth round and accumulation of punches dropped the Mexican.
But Rodriguez remained true to his country’s warrior heritage. He survived and fought back and managed to keep things interesting in the late rounds. Ancajas was willing to stand in front of him and trade shot for shot. Ancajas’ cornerman, Joven Jimenez, had to egg him on going into the final canto.
After more brutal exchanges, they embraced after the final bell as a sign of mutual respect. The three judges scored for the Filipino champion – 115-112,116-111,117-110.
Ancajas is now 33-1-2,22KO’s while Rodriguez drops to 21-2,15KO’s.
This was the ninth defense of the title he won from Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo in September 2016. The ongoing pandemic made Ancajas, as well as other Filipino boxers, endure long months of inactivity.
After winning the IBF title in the Philippines, Ancajas had all of his defenses overseas. Sadly, he is seemingly the odd man out in a talent rich 115 lb dvision that includes Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada (WBA/WBC), Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Japan’s Kazuto Ioka (WBO).
Another Filipino, Mark Magsayo (22-0,15KO’s), fought on the undercard and remained unbeaten after decking Pablo Cruz (21-4,6KO’s) of Texas thrice in a one-sided affair. The referee mercifully stopped it in the fourth.
The featherweight Magsayo is ranked by all four major boxing bodies- WBO number 8,WBC number 5, IBF number 5 and WBA number 10.
File photo-Jerwin Ancajas during a visit to Beijing in 2017.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
A couple of weeks ago, Filipino boxing fans on social media were buzzing with excitement when photos surfaced of world ranked featherweight Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo hitting the mitts with the legendary trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym.
Magsayo had a short chat with this writer about this interesting development in his career.
“My wife is now handling my business affairs. I am currently choosing the best promoter for me.” Magsayo told this writer in a short interview, “My wife was the one who contacted Roach, I was very surprised.”
Magsayo is still undefeated. But he is still star struck even when he has visited the Wild Card Gym in previous years. “Very surreal for me, until now I can’t believe it. It is one of my dreams to be trained by a legend.”
“I am learning a lot of things now, realizing my mistakes in the ring and Coach Freddie is correcting all of them. I am like a kid who is going to school again which is great for me. I am not perfect and I have been wanting to learn from someone like this. It is my goal to be better all the time to be a champion, and I am on the right track now with Coach Freddie as my head trainer.”
Magsayo turning pro in 2013 was covered in the local papers. He was a sought after amateur prospect, a teen phenom who won four national amateur titles in the Philippines.
He did not disappoint with his all-action style. Even as a sophomore pro, he was mentioned as the next Manny Pacquiao. He began winning regional belts and climbed up the world rankings.
His biggest win on local shores was in 2016, a scintillating shootout against American Chris Avalos, a former world title challenger. Magsayo rose from the canvas to stop Avalos in six rounds on the undercard of Nonito Donaire’s title defense against Hungarian Zsolt Bedak. This card drew the biggest live crowd in the history of Cebu City with estimates exceeding 30,000.
Magsayo was the WBO number one contender in 2017 and a title shot was already within reach. But then came his well-publicized split with ALA Promotions which led to his inactivity for the whole of 2018. Magsayo signed with a Malaysian manager and NOW Boxing Promotions and came back in 2019, scoring wins against Indonesian Erik Deztroyer in Singapore and Thai former WBO world champ Panya Uthok in Magsayo’s home island of Bohol.
Magsayo (20-0,14KO’s) told this writer that he has been in the U.S. since January 22. He is not dwelling on the fact that he lost one year of his career, “I am only 24 years old,” He said. “I wanted to fight Oscar Valdez but he moved up.”
He is currently ranked number six by the WBC. He is thinking of a future fight against Gary Russell or any of the world titleholders at 126 lbs. “I am also ranked now number 15 by the IBF and number 11 by the WBA, I want to fight any champion, I want to win a world title.”
Photo- Mark Magsayo
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.