Philippines, 12 Dec 2018
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Dong Secuya
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Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
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The all-Filipino IBF world junior bantamweight title fight between Jerwin Ancajas and Jonas Sultan was a celebration of Philippine boxing and how far we’ve come.

Ignited by the past victories of Manny Pacquiao, Filipino boxers slowly but surely became a force to reckon with on the world stage. We are no longer producing one-hit wonders and short lived champs.

This was the fifth title defense for Ancajas and his second straight fight on U.S. soil. The southpaw defending champion used his right jab to keep Sultan at bay. Sultan pressed the action but he wildly missed more than he landed. It was obvious that a technical battle would be in Ancajas’ favor.

Ancajas dictated the tempo, landing effective one-two combos while Sultan would sneak in an occasional hard right, but it was not enough to win the rounds. Past the halfway mark, Ancajas not only built a wide lead, but his punches increased in volume and landed frequently.

Sultan continued to make a fight out of going into the eighth round and began to show signs of life going into the championship rounds. But Ancajas finished strong in the endgame, showing his advantage in poise and championship experience.

The judges’ scores read - Jonathan Davis and Zac Young – 119-109, Daniel Sandoval 117-111.

This writer also had it 119-109. The fight card held in Fresno,California was promoted by Top Rank.

To Sultan’s credit, this was the first time Ancajas went the distance since he took the title from Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo by unanimous decision in 2016.

Both boxers wrote their names in the annals of Philippine sports. This was the first world title fight involving two Filipinos in 93 years.

We have produced great champions in the past – Hall of Famers Pancho Villa and Flash Elorde, as well as Luisito Espinosa and Gerry Peñalosa. But the intervals between greatness were too far apart.

It was only during the Pacquiao era that we also witnessed the simultaneous reigns of Nonito Donaire, Brian Viloria, and Donnie Nietes. They made us realize that Pinoy boxers will not just win but hold on to their titles and be mentioned among the world’s best.

This fight also should serve as an exhibit for those who are resistant to the idea of having two Filipinos fighting for a world title belt. There are even those who disagree with the idea of having two Filipino prospects trading punches at the regional level. The majority of fight pundits find this idea to be misguided. Anyone who has been to local shows has seen the intensity of fights involving “rival” Filipino gyms. And why deprive another Filipino of a bigger purse when he fights for a regional or world title simply because the title-holder is his countryman?

Fans are also looking forward to another all-Filipino showdown this August, when three division champ Donnie Nietes will be pitted against Aston Palicte for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title.

Nietes is Sultan’s stablemate so we might get to see a Nietes vs Ancajas showdown in the near future.


Last December, John Vincent Moralde of the Sanman Gym of Gen.Santos City suffered his first career loss against American prospect Toka Kahn Clary. Moralde’s cornerman decided not to let him answer the bell for the eighth round to prevent further punishment.

Moralde was on the B-side again in his match-up against unbeaten prospect Ismail Muwendo of Uganda on the undercard of the Ancajas-Sultan IBF world title fight.

But Moralde would not be denied this time around. He knocked down Muwendo twice en route to a unanimous eight round decision victory. Moralde is now 20-1,10KO’s while Muwendo drops to 19-1,12KO’s.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rene Bonsubre, Jr..

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