Ancajas bows to Takuma Inoue in 9th-round KO

Abac Cordero - Philstar.com
Ancajas bows to Takuma Inoue in 9th-round KO
Jerwin Ancajas (right) absorbed a punch by Takuma Inoue
MP Promotions / Wendell Alinea

TOKYO – It was a sad, cold evening in this Japanese capital after Takuma Inoue brought Jerwin Ancajas down on his knees in a ninth-round knockout at the historic Kokugikan Arena here.

Inoue was clearly the better fighter as Ancajas, the former super-flyweight champion, was short with his punches and never really posed a threat to the reigning WBA bantamweight king.

A couple of body shots by Inoue signalled the end of the fight. Ancajas went down in the 44-second mark of the ninth round and right there, decided for himself that he could no longer continue.

“Until today I didn’t know what to expect. But I’m grateful we got this result,” said Inoue, who was joined in the celebration atop the ring by his elder, more illustrious brother Naoya, the undisputed super-bantamweight champion.

Inoue piled up the points in the early rounds, controlling the fighter whether it was from a distance of close range. While Ancajas landed some of his punches, Inoue’s were the harder ones.

Ancajas’ face started to turn red by the fifth round, a clear reflection of what was really going on in the fight.

Ancajas was short with his punches and just couldn’t find the target, especially in the opening rounds where Inoue unveiled a better fight plan.

Inoue was quicker throwing his punches and therefore landed more, including his right straights that helped him pile up the points.

Ancajas, though, tried very hard not to get careless even if the Japanese seemed to have taken control of the fight. Inoue simply stayed out of trouble by making Ancajas miss.

Inoue left the ring still wearing his championship belt and improved his ring record to 19-4. It was only his fifth knockout win, and for it to come at the expense of Ancajas means something for the Filipino.

At 32, there could be a couple more good fights left from Ancajas, but now he must do some serious thinking about whether that would be at 118 pounds or 122 (super-bantamweight).

Ancajas stayed on the floor for some time before regaining his breath. He left the ring looking like what he is right now – a former world champion. But he was gracious in defeat, clasping his hands in prayer and bowing before the crowd.

In the fourth round, Ancajas egged Inoue to come in, perhaps realizing that he had a better chance in a toe-to-toe action. But Inoue managed.

Earlier, Junto Nakatani of Japan raised his unbeaten record to 26-0 with 21 knockouts by stopping Alejandro Santiago of Mexico in the sixth round and crowned himself as the new WBO bantamweight champion.

Nakatani, who has quite a following here in Japan, lived up to expectations by dominating the Mexican, who the crown in July last year with a unanimous decision over Nonito “The Flash” Donaire.

Nakatani floored Santiago with a left straight to the chin. Smelling blood, he pounced in and caught the dethroned champion with a couple more good shots, including a right cross to the jaw, to put an end to the fight.

Jonas Sultan of the Philippines, meanwhile, absorbed a stunning first-round knockout loss against the less experienced Riku Masuda of Japan in their non-title bantamweight contest.

Sultan, who once took a shot at the WBO interim bantamweight crown but failed, tried to dance with his Japanese for in the opening minute of the bout until he got caught with a crunching left straight to the ribcage.

The 32-year-old Cebuano went down in pain and could barely get up to beat the count. He grimaced while on his knees as the referee waved him off. The end came with a minute left in the opening round.

The Japanese crowd roared in approval as Masuda, young and strong, improved his record to 4-1. Sultan, who has fought in London, New York and Liverpool, went down to 19-7 and took his first KO defeat.

Sultan came to the fight with little gas on his tank. He arrived from the United States only two nights ago, and must be jet-lagged by the time he climbed the ring of the historic arena.

“It was my left body punch and it felt really, really good,” said the 26-year-old Masuda, now being lined up for a possible shot at a world title at 118 pounds, through an interpreter.

Sultan shook his head as he headed to the dressing room, not knowing what his future holds after absorbing his second loss in his last three fights. He once fought Ancajas at 115 pounds and lost on points.

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