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Sports

Jerwin used to defying odds

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
Jerwin used to defying odds
IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas.
STAR / File

Jerwin Ancajas hopes to follow in the footsteps of 10 Filipino fighters who won world boxing championships in Japan when he takes on WBA bantamweight ruler Takuma Inoue in a scheduled 12-round bout at the Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena in Sumida City, Tokyo tomorrow night. Its been done before so the odds facing Ancajas arent insurmountable. According to The Sporting News citing an Ontario betting station, Inoue is the -275 favorite while Ancajas is the +225 underdog.

Kokugikan was the same venue where Gerry Peñalosa scored a split 12-round decision over Hiroshi Kawashima to claim the WBC superflyweight title in 1997 and where Joma Gamboa hammered out a similar split 12-round verdict over Venezuelas Noel Arambulet to win the vacant WBA minimumweight throne in 2000. It was also the arena where Flash Elorde stopped Teruo Kosaka in the 12th round to retain his world junior lightweight crown in 1964. Will Kokugikan be as lucky for Ancajas as it was for Peñalosa, Gamboa and Elorde?

Peñalosas brother Dodie Boy took the IBF lightflyweight belt on a 12th round stoppage of Satoshi Shingaki in Osaka in 1983. The Penalosas own the sole distinction of being the only Filipino brothers to win world titles in Japan. Other Filipinos who bagged world crowns in the Land of the Rising Sun were Bernabe Villacampo, Erbito Salavarria, Morris East, Luisito Espinosa, Milan Melindo, Vic Saludar and Melvin Jerusalem.

Villacampo posted a unanimous 15-round decision over Hiroyuki Ebihara for the WBA flyweight strap in Osaka in 1969. Salavarria defeated Susumu Hanagata on a split 15-round verdict to bag the WBA flyweight title in Toyama in 1975. East halted Akinobu Hiranaka in the 11th round to seize the WBA superlightweight diadem at the Nippon Budokan, Tokyo in 1992. Espinosa scored a unanimous 12-round decision over Mexicos Manuel Medina to pocket the WBC featherweight title at the Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo in 1995. Melindo disposed of Akira Yaegashi in one round for the IBF lightflyweight crown at the Ariake Colosseum, Tokyo, in 2017. Saludar beat Ryuya Yamanaka via a unanimous 12-round verdict in Kobe in 2018. And only last year, Jerusalem starched Masataka Taniguchi in two rounds for the WBO minimumweight belt in Osaka.

The path is clear for Ancajas to replicate what 10 Filipino fighters had done before in winning world titles in Japan. Inoue is in the way but Ancajas knows what it takes to defy the odds. Ancajas wasnt expected to dethrone previously unbeaten IBF superflyweight champion and Puerto Rico Olympian McJoe Arroyo in 2016 but he did. Ancajas wasnt expected to reign for six years and repulse nine challengers but he did. Tomorrow night, Ancajas will attempt to trump the betting line once more.

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