Triumphant Ancajas eyes showdowns vs fellow 115-lb champs

MANILA, Philippines – With his smashing win over Jamie Conlan in Belfast Sunday, Filipino Jerwin Ancajas can look forward to the bigger, more lucrative fights in the junior-bantamweight division.

The 25-year-old native of Davao del Norte needed only six rounds to ward off his previously-unbeaten challenger at the SSE Arena in Belfast in a fight that took place around 4 a.m. Manila time.

Ancajas dropped Conlan once in the first, third and fourth rounds, and then for the last time in the sixth to retain his IBF crown in the 115-pound division.

The Filipino champion fighting out of MP Promotions earned $80,000 (roughly P4 million) for the third defense of the title, which he won in September 2016.

It was the biggest paycheck so far for Ancajas, who’s getting used to fighting overseas, having defended the crown twice this year in Macau and Brisbane.

According to reports, Ancajas is now looking to challenge the other world champions in his division, and could be looking at a fight in the United States early next year.

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The other champions at 115 pounds are Naoya Inoue of Japan (WBO), Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand (WBC) and Khalid Yahai of the United Kingdom (WBA).

Fighting anyone among his fellow world champions should mean an even more lucrative paycheck for the boxer from Panabo.

Ancajas arrived in Belfast a week before the fight, and had to withstand the extremely cold weather and the hometown crowd rooting for his opponent.

There are close to 5,000 Filipinos in Belfast, and the support from those who came to the SSE Arena served Ancajas well.

Ancajas improved to 28-1-1 with 19 knockouts while Conlan dropped to 19-1-0 with 11 knockouts.

It was a one-sided contest right from the start.

Conlan first hit the floor midway in the opening round after taking some shots and experiencing a delayed knockdown. In the third and fourth rounds, he went down on body shots, then again in the fifth although it was ruled as a low blow, and caused a point deduction on Ancajas.

A right hook that grazed the Belfast boxer from behind his left ear led to the fourth and last knockdown at the 2:22 mark.

Conlan tried to walk on his knees feeling the effects of the knockdown but got up in time. The referee, however, waved the fight off to save him from further harm.

“Naawa na lang ang referee (The referee pitied him). Kung hindi, sa ospital and punta (Or he would have gone straight to the hospital),” said Filipino international referee Ber Abainza from Belfast.