Bring on the best: Jerwin Ancajas successfully defends IBF junior bantamweight title in Fresno

IBF junior bantamweight titlist Jerwin Ancajas (right) vs. Jonas Sultan. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank


Jerwin Ancajas, 30-1-1 (20), needed both patience and poise to fend off the challenge of a determined, but stylistically-frustrating, Jonas Sultan, 14-4 (9), Saturday night in Fresno, California.


Ancajas, unbeaten in 16 fights and making the fifth defense of his IBF junior bantamweight title, bested Sultan by scores of 119-109 (twice) and 117-111, to sweep the cards, across the board, from all three official ringside judges.


It was the first time in 93 years that two Filipinos contested for a world title since Pancho Villa defended his flyweight belt against Clever Sencio, in a 15-round unanimous decision win, in 1925.


While the fight was a workman-like effort to defend against an awkward Sultan, it allowed Ancajas to remain in the mix of a division that sports some very talented champions and some potentially lucrative bouts for the native of Panabo City, Philippines.


A possible unification bout could be in the wings for Ancajas against Britain’s WBA junior bantamweight king Khalid Yafai, 24-0 (15), who also fought in Fresno on the undercard of the Top Rank card, scoring a seventh round stoppage of David Carmona, 21-6-5 (9).


Ancajas’ division also sports names like Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, 45-4-1 (40), who has the WBC and THE RING Magazine championships in his trophy case. Clearly there are some great bouts available for the soft-spoken Ancajas and, if he has his way, he will be back in the ring as soon as possible, to face the best in the 115-pound division.


After the bout, Ancajas said he was “happy and proud to fight on a historic card” and that he was “happy with my win and am looking forward to my next fight.”


Ancajas adviser Sean Gibbons also spoke with after the bout and said he was happy with the win and that this victory was just the tip of the iceberg for great fights for Ancajas.


“When you are a champion, every fight is tough. Every fighter is gearing up because this is their shot. Jonas Sultan is an awkward guy who comes in at strange angles and is hard to get into a rhythm with,” said Gibbons. “But Jerwin showed great patience in there and looked to land effective shots in the right spots and that is what a good, well-rounded fighter does. He finds the best way to win against awkward and difficult challenges.”


Asked what he would like to see for Ancajas, who is fast becoming a very popular star in the Philippines, Gibbons made it clear it is time to bring on the best.


“There are some great bouts out there for Jerwin in this division, which is stocked with some very good champions. Jerwin wants to fight the very best out there; he wants to fight for the people of the Philippines and he wants to prove he is the best fighter in his division. It’s unification time,” he said. “Bring on the best.”




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