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By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
FILIPINO world champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas retained his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight title in another successful defense on Sunday (Manila time) in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Davao del Norte native Ancajas, back in action after 16 months, defeated Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez by unanimous decision (115-112, 116-111 and 117-110) in their 12-round collision held at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
It was the ninth successful title defense for Mr. Ancajas, who improved to 32 wins after the victory as opposed to two defeats.
Also victorious on Sunday was Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo of the Philippines over American Pablo Cruz by a fourth-round stoppage to keep his unblemished record intact.
Despite the long forced break from action he had because of the ongoing pandemic, Mr. Ancajas was on top of his game, holding his ground against the spirited challenge by Mr. Rodriguez.
The Filipino champion pummeled his Mexican opponent with telling shots throughout the fight, punctuated by a knockdown late in the eighth round.
Mr. Rodriguez tried to recover after being floored, but Mr. Ancajas stayed in control of the fight en route to the hard-earned unanimous decision victory.
“This is the toughest fight for me [so far],” said Mr. Ancajas post-fight as he described his battle with Mr. Rodriguez, which finally took place after being deferred a couple of times previously for varying reasons.
Mr. Ancajas, 29, who has been IBF super flyweight champion since 2016, now hopes his latest victory catapults him to more fights with elite fighters in his division.
With the loss, meanwhile, 25-year-old Rodriguez dropped to 22-2 and saw his winning streak stop at six fights.
MAGSAYO WINS, TOO
Also winning in Connecticut was top Filipino featherweight contender Magsayo.
The Boholano boxer impressed with a fourth-round technical knockout of Houston fighter Cruz in their 10-round undercard fight.
After feeling things out in the opening round, Mr. Magsayo upped the intensity in the succeeding rounds.
He scored a flash knockdown in the second round off a jab and dropped his opponent anew in the third.
Mr. Magsayo continued to put pressure on his opponent in the fourth round, eventually landing a right straight that sent Mr. Cruz to the canvas anew and signaled the end to the fight.
The win stretched his undefeated streak to 22 fights, 15 of which coming by way of knockout.
It was Mr. Magsayo’s second victory under Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, with whom he signed up with last year.