MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Filipino boxer Jerwin "Pretty Boy" Ancajas was victorious in his first match after over a year, but not before he was given a run for his money by Mexico's Jonathan Javier Rodriguez.
Ancajas piled up the points in the first half, then showed he can withstand Rodriguez's power in the second half of the bout en route to a unanimous decision victory at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Judges scored the bout 115-112, 116-111, and 117-110 in favor of the 29-year-old Ancajas, who successfully defended his IBF junior bantamweight title for the ninth time.
"Our sacrifice is worth it," said Ancajas, who did not fight in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the match against Rodriguez, Ancajas was last seen in action December 2019 when he stopped Miguel Gonzalez in Mexico.
"For me, this is the toughest defense," he said.
Rodriguez proved to be a difficult opponent for Ancajas as the Mexican showed no signs of quitting even as he got outboxed by the Filipino early on in the fight.
Ancajas' gamble to stand in the pocket and exchange with Rodriguez paid off in the eighth round, when he knocked down the Mexican with a barrage of punches.
"I'm also shocked that he got knocked down, because Rodriguez is tough," said Ancajas.
But the Mexican beat the 10-count and kept charging forward, though Ancajas displayed his own resilience as he weathered Rodriguez's offense.
Punch stats showed that neither fighter held back: Rodriguez landed 273 of 826 punches, including 253 power punches. Ancajas landed 232 of 758 punches, including 176 power punches.
Ancajas says he will now wait for the plans of his promoter and coach, though he is hopeful that he can get a title unification bout against the top dogs of his division including Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez.
"I'll wait for the plan of Sir Sean (Gibbons of MP Promotions). I will wait for the unification if I have an opportunity," he said.