Filipino champion Jerwin Ancajas scored a dominant victory over mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai of Japan to successfully retain the IBF junior bantamweight belt at Stockton Arena, in Stockton, California on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).
Ancajas looked impressive, punishing Funai with a series of powerful right hooks and vicious left straights especially in round 4 and 6.
In the seventh round, the ringside physician deemed Funai unfit to continue, handing Ancajas the win.
"Sa lahat ng Pilipino dito (in Stockton), maraming maraming salamat po. Isa po sila sa dahilan kung bakit ganito ang lakas ko, sa suporta nila," said the "Pretty Boy" after the win.
"Gusto ko talagang maibalik ang dating ako po."
The crafty Ancajas was indeed back to his own deadly form, one who systematically dismantles his foes before going for the kill.
But it was not easy dealing with Funai, an experienced fighter with 40 professional bouts under his name.
The lanky Japanese gamely took on Ancajas in the early part of the fight, even engaging the champion to a phone booth battle in the third round.
But Ancajas, who consistently peppered Funai with painful body shots, set the Japanese up with a series of right hooks to the head.
This set the stage for Ancajas' huge left hand that rocked Funaiin the fourth round.
Funai was already bleeding from the nose when Ancajas stunned him with another right to the head in the sixth round, followed by repeated 1-2 combinations. Ancajas landed a powerful left straight to Funai's kisser, staggering the challenger shortly before the bell.
In the seventh round, the doctor examined the bruised Japanese and decided to halt the fight.
"Nagulat ako kay Funai. Ipinakita niya talaga ang tapang ng Hapon na 'di umaayaw sa laban," said Ancajas.
"Sobrang mabibigat na ang mga suntok ko. Ramdam ko sa kamay ko pero talagang matibay," said Ancajas.
Overall, Ancajas landed 196-out-of-538 punches, 46 of them were body shots. He also connected 163-of-389 power punches (42 percent).
In comparison, Funai only connected 74-of-408 punches. He landed 48 of his 199 puncher shots.
It was a welcome victory for the Filipino champion who was looking for a statement win especially after a pair of lackluster performances against fellow Filipino fighter Jonas Sultan and Alejandro Santiago Barrios of Mexico.
With the win, Ancajas, the longest reigning IBF junior bantamweight champion, improved to 31-1-2.
Funai dropped to 31-8.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).