by Cliff Rold
In a battle of southpaws, 24-year old unheralded challenger Jerwin Ancajas (25-1, 16 KO), 115, of Cavite City, Cavite, Philippines, scored a knockdown in round seven and dominated the majority of the fight to capture the IBF super flyweight crown from undefeated 30-year old former Olympian McJoe Arroyo (17-1, 8 KO), 114, of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, at Jurado Hall in Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
The fight, delayed initially by an injury to Arroyo, was the first attempted defense for the titlist after defeating Artur Villanueva for the then-vacant crown in July 2015.
The referee was Gene Del Blanco.
The fight got off to a slow, technical start. Ancajas appeared to be landing more through most of the first five rounds but it maintained the feel of anyone’s fight. All of that changed in the sixth round.
Arroyo was rocked in the sixth and matters got worse in the seventh when Ancajas sent him to the floor for a knockdown. Another knockdown could have been credited in the ninth though the referee ruled Arroyo had slipped.
Knowing he likely needed a knockout to win, Arroyo let his hands go in the last three rounds but could never find the saving bomb he needed. Much of that was credit to Ancajas. The challenger’s long left hand stayed accurate, to the head and body, and his right jab contained a pressing Arroyo. In the final two rounds, Ancajas also wisely tied up in spots to stem the momentum of the Puerto Rican titlist.
After twelve, there appeared to be only one victor and the scorecards agreed, awarding Ancajas the title by scores of 118-109, 117-110, and 115-112. Ancajas has now won twelve in a row since losing a ten-round decision in 2012. Arroyo stayed on his feet, halting what was a streak of eleven straight knockouts for the new IBF titlist.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]