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The Jerwin Ancajas Dilemma
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Thu, 10 Oct 2019
Jerwin Ancajas will be making the eighth straight defense of his IBF world super flyweight title on November 2, 2019 in Carson City against Mexican challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez.
However, Ancajas fight versus Roriguez is not the main event but will serve as main support to Miguel Berchelt's defense of his WBC world super featherweight crown versus Jason Sosa.
Ancajas now is the longest continuously reigning Filipino world boxing champion after Donnie 'Ahas' Nietes vacated his WBO super flyweight title early this year.
He is also the most senior among the world titlists at 115 lbs., beating UK's Khalid Yafai, the WBA beltholder by six months in title reign, having first won his IBF belt in June 2016 as against the latter who won his in December of the same year. He has been champion for three years and four months as of to date.
With seven previous title defenses under his belt, he is among the most successful and active reigning and defending world champions currently. Only WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has more successful title defenses with nine.
Gabriel 'Flash' Elorde still holds the record for the longest continuous reign by a Filipino world champion in a single division at seven years and six months during which he successfully defended his super featherweight crown ten times in the 1960s.
With three more successful title defenses, Jerwin will surpass Elorde total of ten but not necessarily his length of tenure as continuous world champion in a single division at more than seven years. But Jerwin would still have a shot at that if he remains champion for the next four years.
However, despite Jerwin's impressive record and credentials, he still lags behind his fellow world titlists at super flyweight in terms of popularity, prominence and most likely even in fight purse.
Fact is, Jerwin is even rated behind fellow Pinoy Nietes who does not hold any world title at present in the latest ratings of the Ring Magazine.
He is ranked just fifth trailing WBO champion Kazuto Ioka of Japan, WBA titlist Yafai, Nietes, former Thai WBC titleholder Srisaket Sor Rungvusai and WBC champion Francisco Estrada. If it is any consolation, he is rated two notches ahead of erstwhile highly touted Nicaraguan ex champion Roman Chocolatito Gonzalez and the guy he drew against earlier Alejandro Santiago Barrios of Mexico.
Jerwin's unenviable standing as a world champion compared to his peers is also reflected in his latest challenger, Jonathan Rodriguez for whom he settled after failed attempts to land unification fights against Estrada and Yafai or just even marquee bouts versus former titlists Gonzalez, Sor Rungvusai and Carlos Cuadras of Mexico.
After wresting the IBF crown from Puerto Rico's McJoe Arroyo more than three years ago, Ancajas's handlers have been gearing to put him in the super flyweight super tournament mix of Estrada, Gonzalez, Cuadras, Yafai and Sor Rungvusai.
But he has been unable to lure any of them to a big fight. Even rated Australian Jason Moloney turned down an opportunity to tangle with Jerwin.
Jerwin was therefore prompted to fight in a series of title defenses which saw him turn back the challenges of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Terou Kinoshita, Michael Conlan, Israel Gonzales, fellow Pinoy Jonas Sultan, Alex Santiago Barrios and Ruichi Funai, a mix bag in terms of quality naturally given the limits of his available options.
Given his track record, Jerwin figures to have little problem retaining his world title against his latest challenger Jonathan Rodriguez whose most prominent victim was veteran fellow Mexican Felipe Orocuta whom he stopped in his last outing. To his credit, Orocuta has previously lost only on points to Gonzalez and Estrada.
But even so, Jerwin is still caught up in a situation where many of the named top fighters he wants to fight see him as a high risk, low reward gamble.
There could be alternative options including a title unification versus Ioka and title defenses against Nietes or Aston Palicte but he and his camp may not be predisposed to such.
It is clear that Jerwin and his handlers have a lot to do to get him out of this dilemma.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com and by phone 09215309477.
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