By Rob Andrew Dongiapon

Philippines’ world title dry spell continues after Jerwin Ancajas failed to re-capture the IBF Junior Bantamweight World title against Fernando Martinez inside Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, Sunday morning (PH time). 

Photo Courtesy of The Ring

Martinez, an Argentine slugger who ended Ancajas' six-year reign as IBF champion last February, did not leave any doubt this time, swaying the judges to a unanimous decision win (119-109, 118-110, 118-110).

Ancajas was champion from 2016 to February this year—a lengthy reign that saw him defend the 115-lb title nine times.       

Similar to their first bout, Ancajas failed to curb the swarming activity of Martinez. Both fighters threw a combined 1459 punches with Martinez connecting an economical 35.8% (241/674) on Ancajas, whose defense proved to be no match.

Martinez’s rugged pace caught up on Ancajas’ fiery but methodical approach in the middle rounds as the Argentine champion pummeled the Filipino with right hand-left hook combinations in the sixth round, effectively opening up the floodgates for Martinez’s retention from then on.

Martinez landed 222 out of his 584 power punches (38%) in the bout, a much more efficient rate than Ancajas’ 168/544 (30.9%), according to CompuBox. 

Problems compounded even more for Ancajas as he suffered a forehead cut after an accidental headbutt that made him visibly shaken up in the seventh round. 

Often flat-footed and evidently sluggish the rest of the way, Ancajas never found the groove he had in the early rounds, where his ring generalship kept Martinez at bay on multiple sequences. 

The loss is Ancajas’ second consecutive as he fell to 33-3-2, while the 30-year-old Martinez went on to his 15th professional win in the same number of fights. 

Meanwhile, Tokyo Olympics’ bronze medalist Eumir Marcial marched to a 3-0 pro record, withstanding a deep cut on his right eye to score a unanimous decision win over Steven Pichardo a few hours before the Ancajas fight. 

Marcial also worked as a cornerman translator in the broadcast of the Ancajas-Martinez bout. 

Like Ancajas, Marcial’s cut was caused by an accidental clash of heads in the second round, leaving the Filipino bloodied for the rest of his fight against the six-foot-one Pichardo. 

Scheduled for six rounds, all three judges scored a shutout in favor of Marcial, 60-54.

Edited by Quian Vencel Galut