Last September we saw Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1, 17) claim the IBF Super Flyweight world title with an upset win over McJoe Arroyo. Today the talented Filipino took to the ring for the first time since winning that title, and successfully defended it against tough nosed Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (32-5, 19), and looked sensational as he headlined day of the 2-day CCTV Lunar New Year Event.
On paper the bout looked like a good defense for Ancajas, there was however a sense that the Filipino skillster was facing an opponent that was made to order, with Rodriguez being an aggressively minded, pressure fighter, who gives plenty of openings. That feeling of Rodriguez being the perfect foil for Ancajas proved to be true almost from the off, with Ancajas using Rodriguez's pressure against him from the opening seconds.
The Mexican went on the front foot immediately, trying to give Ancajas some early discomfort. Ancajas showed that he had scouted Rodriguez well and instead of being ruffled by Rodriguez we saw Ancajas land counter shots as will, swithcing between spiteful uppercuts and straight shots up top to whipping in full blooded body shots. Rodriguez, to his credit, knew his strength was in his aggressive style and knew his only way to win would be to take the fight to Ancajas, but the reality was that the Filipino was too sharp and too quick to be out worked or concerned by Rodriguez.
In round 2 Ancajas opened up more, using Rodriguez as a human punch bag at times and putting on a clinic in terms of counters and movement. He was making a decent fighter like Rodriguez look like a straight up up rookie, avoiding most of what was beign thrown his way and landing shot after shot of his own. In fact it wasn't until round 3 that Rodriguez seemed to have any impact on Ancajas, and the little impact he did have in round 3 ended up costing him as the Filipino upped the ante and seemed to hurt the Mexican in return.
Rodrgiuez's aggression then seemed to fade and in rounds 5 and 6 he was showing clear signs of slowing and was actually starting to be forced on to the back foot. As we'd seen against Kazuto Ioka, who Rodriguez had fought a few years ago, the Mexican cannot fight on the back foot and looked totally clueless when ever Ancajas forced him backwards. What was worse for Rodriguez was that he backed up in straight lines and that just allowed Ancajas to follow up and combination with a straight whilst he backed up.
Whilst Ancajas was in total control there was a sense that he was figthign well within himself, preferring to show case his skills rather than hunt a finish. That was particularly notable in round 7, with Rodriguez slowing to a near halt and Ancajas happy to go through the motions. It had a feel of a bout that could get frustrating for fans, until Rodriguez was seen by doctors at the start of round 8, and cited a shoulder issue that eventually forced the bout to be stopped, after some confusing moments from the doctor, the fighter and the referee.
With the win Ancajas has made his first defense of the IBF title, and looked like a sensation at times, and will be lookign to make his second defense later this year. For Rodriguez it's hard to see where he goes, other than the domestic Mexican scene. With Super Flyweight being a rather packed division Ancajas willlikely see hi name linked to numerous other top fighters, including Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonalez, Kal Yafai and Takuma Inoue, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the Filipino in against a notable name by summer.
It's fair to say that January 2017 has been a slow burner, but today we had the first world title bout to be held on Asian soil for the year. The bout saw the unbeaten Wanheng Menayothin (44-0, 17) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] narrowly retain the WBC Minimumweight title with a very close win over rising Filipino Melvin Jerusalem (11-1, 7). Although Wanheng won, and recorded the 6th defense of his title, it was actually the Filipino who came out with the enhanced reputation and it's fair to say that Wanheng will have been glad to have faced Jerusalem now, rather than in 12 months time.
The Filipino started hot and clearly won the first 2 rounds, using his speed, movement and work rate to make the champion look slow and sluggish. Although Jerusalem wasn't hurting the Thai he was putting him totally off his game and make life look easy as he prevented Wanheng from firing anything of note in his direction. In round 3 the Filipino slowed a tad and the champion managed to do just enough to impress the judges into giving him rounds 3 and 4, though both were close and likely would have gone to which ever fighter was at home.
After 4 rounds there was little complaining with the open scoring, with all 3 cards reading 38-38. Jerusalem took those cards as sign that close rounds weren't going to be his and he seemed to do enough late in round 5 to take the round, and sneak back into the lead. Sadly for the challenger that lead wouldn't last long with Wanheng spoiling through much of round 6 before landing some really eye catching shots late that would have left a lasting impression on the judges. Those shots seemed to spur on Wanheng who intelligently spoiled in round 7 to frustrate the Filipino and landed just enough to take the round.
The momentum continued to go with Wanheng who had a 10-8 round in round 8 when Jerusalem was deducted a harsh point for a low blow. The shot was low, but the deduction was harsh given it was a first offense in an other wise clean bout. That 10-8 round helped Wanheng hold a the advantage on the open scoring after 8 rounds, with a lead of 77-74 -twice and 78-74.
Round 9 was another where Wanheng seemed to spoil and bully. He pushed and threw a tired looking Jerusalem to the canvas whilst the challenger tried to land flurries in little raids. Unfortunately for the Filipino he looked too tired to get in and out before being tired up and tagged by single shots. The round, however, was one of the closer ones with it being perhaps the key swing round for the fight.
In the final 3 rounds a lazy and tired Wanheng did very little whilst a tired, and very arm weary, Jerusalem put it all on the line. It was as if Wanheng knew he'd done just enough and Jerusalem knew he'd have to secure a 10-8 round. That showed more as the final 3 rounds progressed, with Jerusalem doing everything he could in the final round to turn things around.
Sadly for the Filipino his great effort wasn't quite enough to over-come Wanheng, with the judges favouring the local fight with scores of 114-113, twice, and 115-113. We had it 114-113 to Wanheng, but feel that the Filipino came out looking like the fighter going places, whilst Wanheng is probably coming to the end of his long career. For Jerusalem the bout could either make him a new jewel for ALA or, possibly, the next Filipino to avoid, in a similar vein to Rey Loreto and Jonathan Taconing. If ALA can get Jerusalem some good 12 rounds through this year he really could be a very big force over the next decade or so.
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.