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Jerwin Ancajas moving to bantamweight after upset loss to Fernando Martinez

Ancajas has competed at 115 since 2015

Chris Colbert v Hector Luis Garcia - News Conference Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Former IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas has the contractual right to challenge recent conqueror Fernando Martinez again, but it looks like he won’t be doing so. Rappler reports that “Pretty Boy” will instead try his hand at bantamweight, where he hasn’t fought since 2015.

Both Ancajas (33-2-2, 22 KO) and trainer Joven Jimenez claim that the weight cut was a major factor in Ancajas’ loss to Martinez, which saw him absorb more than 400 punches over 12 rounds.

“Usually, on Friday we’ll just work out a bit before the weigh-in,” said Jimenez. “Not this time, he wasn’t really able to recover and rehydrate.”

By the second round, Ancajas said his legs were cramping, and by the fourth, he was fighting for survival. He relied on instinct and heart to finish standing.

“My body betrayed me,” said Ancajas, now 33-2-2 with 22 knockouts, in Filipino. “I could see his punches. I knew they were coming, but I couldn’t react. Even my brain wouldn’t respond, no muscle memory. So I would just absorb them (punches).”

Even if his title reign was underwhelming, that was a deeply unfortunate way for it to end. Ancajas had signed to face Kazuto Ioka in a unification match last December, but increased COVID restrictions forced a postponement, prompting Ancajas to “stay busy” against the unheralded Martinez. Luckily, he’s still just 30, so there’s time to pick up the pieces and start again at 118.

As far as Martinez, odds are he’ll face another Filipino standout in mandatory challenger Jade Bornea next unless he gets his own unification campaign going.