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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Ancajas gets it done in style

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
06 May 2019



STOCKTON. What IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas set out to do, he did in style. Ancajas faced Japanese challenger Ryuichi Funai at the Stockton Arena here Saturday night (yesterday morning, Manila time) with the goal of scoring a decisive win to erase the sad memory of a listless showing in his previous two fights. Not only did the Panabo, Davao del Norte, southpaw convincingly retain his crown in his seventh defense but he also exorcised the ghosts that haunted his recent past.

Ancajas put on a boxing clinic to totally dominate Funai, staggering the Japanese repeatedly. Only Funai’s fighting spirit kept him from going down. Even as his knees buckled and his legs turned rubbery, Funai stubbornly stayed on his feet, earning Ancajas’ admiration. At the start of the seventh round, referee Edward Collantes summoned ringside physician Dr. Gary Furness to examine the badly battered Funai.

Dr. Furness ruled Funai unfit to continue and Collantes waved it off. “There was a lag in Funai’s right eye when I asked him to look sideways,” said Dr. Furness. “The right eye moved slower than the left which is a sign of a possible brain concussion. I also examined Funai at the start of the fifth round and I asked him to look sideways. He was fine then. On my second examination, he was fine looking up and down. But when I noticed the lag in his right eye, I advised the referee to stop it.”

Funai wanted to continue fighting and wept when told it was all over. Japanese reporters initially said Funai wasn’t sure if he would retire or not after the loss. But one of his handlers later said Funai would come back to fight in an eight-rounder in a few months.


Funai visits Ancajas in his locker room to congratulate the Filipino champion after losing by TKO.

Ancajas set the tone in the first round by peppering Funai with stinging right jab-left straight combinations. Funai ate up Ancajas’ jabs but wouldn’t take a step back. He was a magnet for the left straight. Ancajas went to the body in the second stanza and Funai didn’t know whether to defend upstairs or downstairs. The third round was a give-and-take war. Funai and Ancajas stood toe-to-toe, exchanging hard shots. It seemed that Funai had a slight edge in volume. But in the fourth, Ancajas regained control and at least thrice, Funai was wobbled by blows to the head. Ancajas blasted Funai with shots from all angles and it looked like just a matter of time before the Japanese would fall. At the start of the fifth, Collantes asked Dr. Furness to check on Funai. Dr. Furness gave his thumbs up.

Ancajas held back in the fifth and coasted. It seemed like Ancajas was careful not to burn out. Funai hardly threw a punch, still trying to recover from the punishment the previous round. Ancajas later said his trainer Joven Jimenez told him to ease off and pace himself. In the sixth, Ancajas moved in for the kill. He rocked Funai with a variety of punches, including several jolting uppercuts, and a shot to the head nearly toppled Funai at the bell. A second into the seventh, Collantes led Funai to the corner for another examination. This time, Dr. Furness advised Collantes to end it.


Dr. Gary Furness examines Ancajas in the mandatory post-fight medical check-up.

“I did what we planned,” said Ancajas in Pilipino. “In my last two fights (a decision over Jonas Sultan and a draw with Alejandro Santiago), I wanted to finish it with one punch. I didn’t fight smart. I didn't respect my opponents. Against Funai, I went back to what I did to knock out my first four challengers. I took my time, used my jabs, did my combinations, moved side to side. And I had no difficulty making weight because I followed my nutrition program.”

International matchmaker Sean Gibbons said Funai was an easy target. “No defense no finesse,” said Gibbons. “But the guy was all heart. I’ve watched his previous fights on film. I’ve seen him bloodied. I expected Jerwin to bust him wide open. It was a sensational showing and (Top Rank CEO) Bob (Arum) was excited.” Arum said for Ancajas’ next outing, he’s eyeing a defense against Australia’s unbeaten Andrew Moloney, the Orient and Pacific Boxing Federation and WBA Oceania superflyweight champion. Moloney’s record is 19-0, with 12 KOs and 11 of his victims were Filipinos.

Gibbons said he’ll never agree for Ancajas to fight Moloney in Australia. “We’ll do it in the US or the Philippines but Uncle Bob has to put more money on the table for Ancajas to make it happen,” he said. Ancajas earned $175,000 for the Funai defense. The win raised Ancajas’ record to 31-1-2, with 21 KOs while the loss dipped Funai’s record to 31-8, with 22 KOs.


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