IT WAS another successful title defense for International Boxing Federation super flyweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas on Sunday in Stockton, California, and he did it in a more convincing and impressive fashion than his previous two fights, which bodes well for the Filipino moving forward, said a local fight analyst.

Dominant right from the start, Mr. Ancajas proved to be a handful against Japanese challenger and number one contender Ryuichi Funai, who was already broken down just halfway into their scheduled 12-rounder that the ring side doctor called for the fight to be stopped and hand the seventh-round technical knockout victory to the Davao del Norte native.

The TKO win came on the heels of Mr. Ancajas’s split draw outing against Mexican Alejandro Santiago in September and a unanimous decision victory over compatriot Julius Sultan prior to that, both of which were not warmly received by pundits and fans who felt he could have performed better in said fights.

For fight analyst Nissi Icasiano, to see Mr. Ancajas (31-1-2) with the kind of performance he had versus Mr. Funai brought delight to him and said it would benefit the Filipino champion’s standing as a top-caliber fighter.

“This win over Funai stretched Ancajas’ title defense streak to seven since he won the title in 2016. Not only that, this victory put him back to good standing as a titleholder in his talent-filled division following back-to-back humdrum performances,” said Mr. Icasiano in an online correspondence with BusinessWorld following Mr. Ancajas’s win.

“In this bout, they found a good dance partner for Jerwin Ancajas. Funai proved to be a welcoming target for Ancajas, who landed his right jab and straight left hand with frequency. The fourth round was all Ancajas as he punished Funai, recording a 43 to 5 edge in power shots during that three-minute period,” he added.

Mr. Icasiano underscored that quite evident in Mr. Ancajas in his recent fight was the confidence he showed, something that was lacking in his two previous fights, owing perhaps to the “unconventional styles” of Messrs. Santiago and Sultan he surmised.

“I am happy to see Jerwin Ancajas in his own element again. His body shots also were in full display, which was evidently missing in his last two matches,” he said.

Moving forward, Mr. Icasiano said the Funai win sets Mr. Ancajas back on track for more high-profile matches.

“Ancajas is vocal about his intention to fight the big names of his division. This match somehow puts him back in the conversation. In the past, Ancajas and his team mentioned the names of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada. A Filipino versus Filipino clash against either Donnie Nietes or Aston Palicte is likewise in the pipeline,” he said.

Mr. Ancajas has been a champion since September 2016 when he defeated McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo