Boxing: Ancajas falls to Martinez, loses IBF crown

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2022 12:20 PM | Updated as of Feb 27 2022 05:56 PM

Filipino boxing Jerwin Ancajas battles Argentina's Fernando Martinez in a junior bantamweight clash in Las Vegas. Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions.
Filipino boxing Jerwin Ancajas battles Argentina's Fernando Martinez in a junior bantamweight clash in Las Vegas. Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions.

(UPDATED) For the first time since September 2016, Jerwin Ancajas is not a world champion.

The Filipino fighter fell short in his 10th defense of his IBF junior bantamweight title, losing via unanimous decision to Argentina's Fernando Martinez in an early Fight of the Year contender on Saturday in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila).

In a bout that was action-packed from the first 'til the final bell, the 30-year-old Martinez got the nod of all three judges, 117-111, 118-110, 118-110.

Martinez stayed unbeaten, improving to 14-0 in his career. Ancajas, meanwhile, lost for the first time since March 2012 and dropped the belt that he won in September 2016 against McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico. 

Ancajas was classy in defeat, praising his triumphant foe who had represented Argentina in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"Masaya po ako na nakalaban si Martinez na isang Olympian, magaling na boksingero. Proud ako sa nakalaban ko, magaling, mahirap na kalaban," he said.

(I'm happy to have fought Martinez, who is an Olympian, a very good boxer. I'm proud of my rival, who is good, and hard to beat.)

Ancajas was in control of the early rounds, but Martinez soon began to assert himself, unleashing a bevy of punches to put pressure on the champion. The middle rounds saw Martinez land repeatedly on Ancajas' head, while also walking through the Filipino's best shots. 

The 10th round saw Ancajas be more active, especially early on when he landed a significant left hand punch. But Martinez was unfazed, and his right hook continued to find its target on Ancajas' face.

Fight statistics showed that Martinez unloaded a whopping 1,046 punches, landing 427 of them for a 41% rate. He connected on a stunning 421 of his 833 power punches.

Ancajas was also active, but less precise: he threw 816 punches, but landing just 192 of them.

Afterward, the Filipino said he wanted a rematch and an opportunity to regain his championship. A victory against Martinez would have tied Ancajas for most title defenses among active boxing champions.

"Kung sakali pong maglaban kami ulit, mas gagalingan ko pa po, kasi alam ko na magaling si Martinez," the 30-year-old Ancajas said. "Pero sa susunod na laban, tiyak na gagawin namin 'yung lahat para makuha ulit ang championship."

(If ever we'll fight again, I will do better because I already know Martinez is good... But in that next fight, I'll make sure to give it all to become champion again.)

"Nakita natin 'yung ano, kung gaano ka-determinado si Martinez sa laban ngayon. Pinakita niya kung ano ang challenger. Sa ngayon na decision po, sa laban, marami akong natutunan sa laban na 'to," he also said.

(We saw how determined Martinez in today's fight. He showed how he he is as a challenger. In today's fight, I learned a lot.)

Ancajas was coming off a win against Mexico's Jonathan Javier Rodriguez in April 2021, and had been targeting a possible unification fight against the other champions of the division such as Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico.

Those plans will have to take a backseat, however, as he first tries to regain his crown.