Jerwin Ancajas retained his IBF junior bantamweight title in a rugged, hard-hitting fight with unknown mandatory challenger Jonathan Rodriguez tonight on Showtime.
Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 KO) won on scores of 115-112, 116-111, and 117-110, with Bad Left Hook unofficially scoring the bout 116-111 for the Filipino, who has now made nine successful defenses of the belt he won in 2016.
The 29-year-old Ancajas had good success when he was able to keep range against Rodriguez (22-2, 16 KO), a 25-year-old Mexican who was mandatory but had never really fought at this level before, or even particularly near it.
But Ancajas often decided to get inside and trade, giving Rodriguez real opportunities. Rodriguez went down in the eighth round, but managed to come back strong down the stretch and keep the fight very competitive. By the end, he even looked arguably the fresher of the two, even though Ancajas had invested good work to the body over the course of the fight, and for a time seemed to be the one landing the harder, more significant blows.
It was a hell of a fight, though, the type that a live crowd would have been going nuts for by the middle rounds, and Rodriguez definitely announced he’s no joke in the 115 lb division, which is very competitive with a lot of good and great fighters. Ancajas deserved the win, but Rodriguez made him fully earn it.
Ancajas said he would seek unification if he gets the opportunity, which seems unlikely if he’s with PBC from now on, as the rest of the top guys are with Matchroom.