Jerwin Ancajas and Vincent Astrolabio suffered different fates during their respective title fights.
Ancajas yielded the International Boxing Federation Super Flyweight title to Fernando Daniel Martinez during their bout held on February 26 (February 27, Philippine time) at the Cosmopolitan Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada while the unheralded Astrolabio captured the vacant World Boxing Council International Bantam Title by stunning legend Guillermo Rigondeaux at the Dubai Marina in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In Nevada, judges agree in unison the Ancajas-Martinez tussle was not close, scoring the fight, 117-111, 118-110, 118-110.
The 30-year old Mexican took the fight to the also 30-year old “Pretty Boy”, forcing a brawl between the two warriors.
The strategy worked wonders for Martinez as he targeted Ancajas’ head and consistently landed hits throughout the fight. Ancajas, meanwhile, choose to utilize the body shot majority of times.
In the end, Martinez outworked Ancajas by throwing more punches and got the better of their exchanges.
Ancajas professional fight record slips to 33-2-2, with 22 knockouts. He was defending the title for the 10th time. He was supposed to face Japanese Kazuto Ioka, the World Boxing Organization champion, for a unification bout on 2022 New Year’s Eve in Tokyo but the fight was postponed due to travel restrictions imposed by Japan following a surge of COVID-19 cases triggered by the Omicron variant.
On the other hand, the new world champion raised his “young” record 14-0, with 8 knockouts.
In contrast, Astrolabio barely got the nod of all three judges, 95-94, with the key hit being a well-timed right uppercut that floored the 41-year old Cuban for a 10-8 round.
Astrolabio made Rigondeaux look like an old fighter for the entire 10 rounds. He did not fall into the pace of Rigondeaux, one which allowed him to remain within winning distance in a close decision loss to WBO bantamweight titleholder John Riel Casimero last August 2022.
Understanding the “stay-away from opponents’ reach style” of Rigondeaux, Astrolabio did what Casimero failed to do, took control of the action early and found a way to land right hands to the elusive Cuban, then cut off the ring as he danced away to allow him to land more punches.
Astrolabio improved his professional fight record to 17-3, with 12 knockouts. He entered the fight a heavy underdog, with only the WBO ranking him at 7.
Rigondeaux dropped to 20-3, with 13 knockouts. The former junior featherweight champion suffered his second straight loss.
His successive defeat against Filipinos is a refreshing sight for Pinoys. It is a reversal of what he earlier did in his career against Filipinos, when he victimized Drian Francisco in 2015 and Nonito Donaire in 2013.
The impact of Astrolabio’s knockdown must have been felt sweeter by Pinoys when they recalled Donaire failed to take home the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation Super Bantam titles despite flooring Rigondeaux in Round 10.
By Armando M. Bolislis