Inoue quicker on draw

Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
Inoue quicker on draw
Jerwin Ancajas (right) and Takuma Inoue during the final press conference.
MP Promotions

MANILA, Philippines — Defending WBA bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue and Filipino challenger Jerwin Ancajas were like gunslingers on a lonely Wild West street facing each other at the Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena in Tokyo last Saturday night. They banged each other’s body with ruthless abandon from the onset but when it came to winning time, Inoue was quicker on the draw as he landed two rights to the solar plexus, sending Ancajas down on all fours for good at 0:44 of the ninth round.

Ancajas took two short hammer-like uppers in the pit of his stomach during a fierce exchange and in a delayed reaction, dropped to his knees. He tried to get up at the count of four but stayed on his knees then rolled over as referee Mark Nelson embraced him to signal it was over. The punches sucked the wind out of Ancajas’ sails. A blow to the solar plexus at the point of inhaling will lead to a drowning sensation and a panic because the victim isn’t able to breathe. From the way Ancajas and Inoue attacked the body, either fighter would’ve been knocked out with a dig to the midsection. Inoue got to Ancajas first.

“It was nip and tuck until the end,” said MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons who was at ringside. “A shot to the solar plexus will paralyze you for about 15 to 20 seconds then you’re fine as soon as your breath comes back. I had it even, four rounds each, before the ninth. I thought Jerwin hurt Inoue more than he got hurt up to the knockout. Inoue was quicker with his punches and combinations.”

Ancajas and his traveling party will arrive in Manila tonight. Ancajas’ manager/trainer Joven Jimenez said they’ll head straight to Magallanes, Cavite. “Sobrang lungkot, medyo apektado pamilya namin,” said Jimenez.

Ancajas got off to a strong start, leading off with a right jab then stepping in to land a left straight out of his southpaw stance. In the third, Inoue set the pace, countering with lefts over the top and rights down the middle. In the fourth, Inoue went toe-to-toe with Ancajas and was tagged with a right that rocked his head back. The Japanese controlled the action from a distance in the fifth and sixth as Ancajas slowed down. Inoue slipped and slid away from Ancajas’ rushes, making the Filipino miss more than he connected. In the eighth, Ancajas and Inoue traded bombs to the body and it looked like a knockout was in the offing, either way. Inoue found the precise timing to end it in the ninth.

Judge Alex Levin of Florida had it, 77-75 while judges Luigi Boscarelli of Italy and Byung Mu Kim saw it 78-74, all for Inoue, at the time of the stoppage. Levin scored three of the first four rounds for Ancajas.

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