The Philippines’ Jerwin Ancajas made a huge splash in is much-awaited US debut by knocking out Mexico’s Israel “Jiga” Gonzalez in the 10th round to retain the IBF junior bantamweight crown on Saturday at American Bank Center Corpus Christi, Texas (Sunday, Manila time).
The “Pretty Boy” of Panabo City did not disappoint, and took his Mexican foe down brick by brick before closing out the bout in the 10th with a couple of devastating left hands.
Ancajas actually scored a flash knockdown against Gonzalez early in the opening round when he connected a left to the jaw.
This prompted the Mexican to be more elusive, but Ancajas repeatedly hammered him with vicious one-two combos that had Gonzalez bleeding in the nose.
Gonzalez had some success in the fifth, when he connected a couple of right crosses.
But in the 10th, the Mexican decided to engage Ancajas in a brawl, which allowed the champion to sneak in a left straight that fell Gonzalez to the seat of his pants.
Gonzalez was able to recover but was met by a powerful looping left to the temple, which effectively ended the bout 1 minute 50 seconds in that round.
According to CompuBox statistics, Ancajas landed 130 of 477 shots (27 percent), while Gonzalez had a measly 48 of 303 (16 percent).
During the post fight interview with ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna, the comparison between him and his idol Manny Pacquiao was again brought up.
“Hindi ko talagang naiisip na ikinukumpara ako kay Sir Manny, pero sinisipagan ko sa laban para kahit kaunti man lang maging katulad ni Sir Manny. (I wasn’t really thinking much about the comparison with Sir Manny, but I try my best to gain the same success that he had),” was Ancajas’ response.
The Filipino also said he hopes to rise up to the ranks of 115-pound kings, WBA champion Khalid Yafai, WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvaisai and WBO king Naoya Inoue.
“Highest level na rin po ang kalidad nila. Kinokonsider ko na mas mababa na champion ako sa kanila pero pinagsisikapan ko na mapantayan sila (They are the highest level of champions, I consider myself somewhat lower than then, but I will try my best to be like them),” he said.
It was Ancajas' first fight in the US, but his fourth defense of the championship he won in 2016.
Ancajas, who hasn't lost since March 2012, raised his record to 29 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.