Boxing: Jerwin Ancajas seeks statement victory in world-title defense

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2019 11:41 PM | Updated as of May 05 2019 12:00 AM

For Jerwin Ancajas, everything is set for his world junior bantamweight title defense against Japan’s Ryuichi Funai. 

Ancajas, the longest reigning International Boxing Federation 115-pound champion, will be making his seventh title defense against Funai in Stockton, Calif., on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

The Panabo city, Davao del Norte native easily tipped the scales at 114.2 pounds during their official weigh-in on Friday. Funai, who stands 5-foot-7, stepped in at 114.4 pounds. 

Fight analyst Ed Tolentino said Ancajas will be seeking an impressive victory, especially after he got mixed results in his past 2 fights.

“Ancajas must show that the tenacity, skill and power that he displayed when he ascended to the throne are still there, that the pedestrian showings in the last two fights are just an aberration,” Tolentino said.

He was referring to Ancajas’ unanimous decision win against countryman Jonas Sultan last year and his split draw with Mexico’s Alejandro Santiago Barrios in September.

Following his world title victory over Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo in 2016, Ancajas racked 4 straight stoppage wins while defending the crown.

Tolentino said Funai just might be the right opponent for Ancajas.

"Funai is tall, but his style is almost tailor-made for Ancajas," the analyst said.

“Funai is a slow starter and while he always keeps his hands up, close to his face, the defense is not that solid and can easily be cracked with a persistent jab. Funai does not really move his head well and I think Ancajas can outwork him with a consistent right-jab, left-straight combinations.”

But Ancajas can’t underestimate Funai, who is getting the biggest break of his career with the mandatory title fight.

“Funai, at 33, is figuring in what could very well be his last chance to win a world title. So you cannot just take him lightly because he is one hungry challenger. He is entering the fight on a roll, having won his last 7 fights, 6 by knockout,” Tolentino said.

“But honestly, he has not faced anyone with the skill of Ancajas.”

Ancajas’ IBF junior bantamweight title defense versus Funai will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports and Action Sunday at 10:30 am.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.