Philippines, 12 Dec 2018
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Sultan lost in a chess match

FRESNO. Defeated challenger Jonas Sultan’s trainer Edito Villamor called it a chess match and defending IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas wound up with the key pieces to retain his crown via a unanimous 12-round decision at the Save Mart Center here Saturday night (yesterday morning, Manila).

Villamor said when Sultan couldn’t execute the fight plan of pressuring Ancajas to force a brawl, he tried a different tack. Sultan changed tactics and waited for Ancajas to move in so he could counter. But Ancajas was too slick to fall into the trap. Ancajas stayed the course throughout the tactical fight, striking with combinations from a distance and never allowing himself to get sucked into a brawl.

ALA Boxing president Michael Aldeguer, whose stable lists three-division world champion Donnie Nietes and Sultan, conceded defeat. Sultan finished the fight with a nick in the innercorner of his right eyebrow and bruises all over his face. He, too, admitted Ancajas was the better man.

Two things that Sultan said he would work on in the gym are his combinations and distance fighting. He fell short on both counts badly against Ancajas who used his vast experience in controlling the fight from a distance.

Ancajas wasn’t exactly ecstatic over his performance even as the three judges’ scorecards showed a wide margin. He gave himself a rating of only 7 out of 10 in terms of performance. Ancajas called Sultan strong and durable. “Sultan is unlike the other challengers I beat,” said Ancajas in Pilipino. “He was my toughest opponent and showed the heart of a Filipino fighter. I never got hurt but he forced me to work hard. I fought patiently. I didn’t want to take chances because I know he has a strong punch. I did what my coach (Joven Jimenez) told me to do. I think we both showed the world the caliber of Filipino fighters.”

Jimenez said Ancajas was slower than usual. In his previous four fights, Ancajas didn’t lose a single round. But against Sultan, two judges gave a round each to the challenger and another gave three. “I noticed in the first round, Jerwin’s timing was off and his delivery was slow,” said Jimenez in Pilipino. “Maybe, it’s because of the postponements of the fight. He could’ve peaked too soon Maybe, it was because of so many media commitments. Driving from Magallanes, Cavite, where he stays in the Survival Camp to Manila and back is quite tiring. Maybe, it’s because he only had two weeks off from his last fight and started to train right away. I'll give Jerwin one month to rest before going back to the gym so he's able to recover from a hard fight.”

Jimenez said Top Rank plans to schedule two more fights for Ancajas before the year ends, in September and in December. One could be a unification bout with WBA superflyweight champion Khalid Yafai of the UK. In last Saturday’s undercard, Yafai demolished overweight Mexican David Carmona who surrendered on his stool before the start of the eighth. Carmona was down thrice in the carnage.

Carmona weighed in at 118.6 pounds for the fight while Yafai tipped the scales at 114.8. The superflyweight limit is 115 pounds. Under WBA rules, the fight remained a title match but if Carmona won, the throne would be declared vacant. For failing to make weight, Carmona gave up a percentage of his purse to Yafai but was allowed to wear eight-ounce gloves like the champion.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.

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