Jerwin Ancajas vs. Jonas Sultan analysis & prediction
By Chris Williams: IBF World super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20 KOs) will be defending his title this Saturday night against his mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan (14-3, 9 KOs) in a 50-50 fight at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California. This is the first title fight between Filipino fighters in 93 years.
Ancajas, 26, could see his short 2-year title reign come to an end against fellow Filipino fighter Sultan. This is easily the toughest opponent Ancajas will have ever faced, as the 26-year-old Sultan is looking almost unbeatable in his last five fights.
Sultan has turned his career around since losing to Go Onaga by a 10 round unanimous decision in November 2015. Since then, Sultan has gone through a transformation to where he’s taken his skills to another level.
Ancajas vs. Sultan will be on ESPN+ this Saturday night. The start time is at 9:30 p.m. ET. This is one of the better cards that boxing fans can see on TV this weekend.
Also on the Ancajas-Sultan card is WBA World super flyweight champion Khalid Yafai (23-0, 14 KOs) defending his title against former world title challenge David Carmona (21-5-5, 9 KOs). The winner of the two fights is expected to face each other in unification in the fall. It’s expected that Ancajas and Yafai will win the fights this Saturday, but you never know. Sultan has a real chance of winning, and Carmona has the skills to give Yafai pure headaches. Carmona gave Naoya Inoue his toughest fight of his pro career in losing a 12 round unanimous decision to him in May 2016.
The heavy-handed southpaw Ancajas, who some boxing fans compare to a young Manny Pacquiao, will be defending his IBF 115lb title for the fifth time when get gets inside the ring on Saturday. Ancajas’ opponent Sultan will be fighting for a world title for the first time in his career. However, that doesn’t mean he’s inexperienced. Sultan has wins over world champions John Riel Casimero and Sonny Boy Jaro in his last two fights. Sultan dominated both of those guys in easily winning. Sultan can move on and take a unification fight against the Yafai vs. Carmona winner.
Sultan won’t be forced to give Ancajas a rematch if he beats him because he’s the mandatory challenger, not a voluntary challenger.
Top Rank has their work cut out for them to try and turn Ancajas into a star like Pacquiao. That’s their ultimate goal, but it’s going to be tougher for them to do this because they don’t appear to be interested in matching Ancajas against the best fighter in the division in Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Top Rank is trying to turn Ancajas into a star the easy way by matching him against the B-level contenders rather than by matching him against the A-class super flyweights like Rungvisai, Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.
“My goal is to entertain the crowd,” Ancajas said to ESPN.com. ”For my fans, the Filipino community here, I’m looking forward to this fight. I’m proud that my dream has come true. All of my sacrifices paid off. Sultan is hungry for a world title fight, to prove he is the best. I am confident, but not overconfident, because he’s also Filipino. We are expecting a good fight for the fans,” Ancajas said.
Ancajas might have the power advantage in the fight, but Sultan has the boxing skills, hand speed and the mobility. He also has the ring IQ. If Sultan can box Ancajas, he’ll have a great shot at pulling off an upset on Saturday.
Ancajas is a work in process. Top Rank knows this, which is why they haven’t put him in with any of the good fighters in the super flyweight division. They’re hoping that Ancajas can make the leap into stardom the easy way like Pacquiao did in fighting a shot and weight drained Oscar De La Hoya. Unfortunately for Top Rank, there isn’t a De La Hoya at 115lb weight class to feed to Ancajas to turn him into a star. About the best option is Roman Gonzalez, and I’m not so sure that he has enough cache left after his two losses to Rungvisai for Ancajas to be transformed into a star in beating him.
“There are many great fighters in the Philippines, and I am happy that Jonas and myself can share this big stage,” Ancajas said. ”We are making history, and I am glad that we can fight to see who is the best.”
Jonas will be a good test for Ancajas, and like I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses this fight. Former flyweight champion Donnie Nietes might even be better than both of those guys, but he’s not the guy that is getting his chance against Ancajas on Saturday. If Ancajas does face Nietes, it likely won’t be for few years until he ages some more and is less of a threat. Right now, Nietes might be too dangerous for Ancajas to be allowed to fight him. Creating a star is tricky business for promoters like Top Rank. They need to go about it the fight way, which is probably the sole reason why they’ve not matched him against Rungvisai, Estrada and Nietes. Those guys are just too good right now. That might change in a fear years as they age. Ancajas, 26, has age on his side. He can wait out the older fighters than himself until they age and become vulnerable.
”This is my dream in life, to fight for the world championship,” Sultan said about challenging Ancajas. ”This is very good for me because this is an important opportunity. Jerwin is a good fighter. He has speed and power. I trained hard. I have a really good plan for this fight.”
It’s hard not to go with the hot hand now. Sultan is fighting at such a high level that he’s hard to pick against. Ancajas looks vulnerable when he faces guys that have power that can hit him back hard. I Sultan is able to take the fight to him on Saturday night, we could see an upset.
I see Sultan boxing his way to a big upset victory by a 12 round unanimous decision over Ancajas. I don’t see Ancajas as the complete package like Sultan, and for that reason, I see him losing.
Yafai defends his IBF title against #10 WBA Carmona. This will be Yafai’s third defense of his belt. Like I said earlier, Carmona lost to Naoya Inoue in 2016. Carmona lost to Carlos Cuadras by a controversial 10 round unanimous decision in March 2017. Carmona fought well enough to win that fight, but the decision just didn’t go his way. Call it a robbery or whatever. The fact is Carmona fought well enough to deserve the decision but the judges felt differently. Carmona is the underdog in this fight, but he has a decent chance of winning. The size of Yafai is the biggest thing that Carmona will need to deal with in his fight. If he can handle the size, he’ll have a chance of winning. It’s not easy for Yafai’s opponents to deal with his size, reach and power. It makes him very had to beat.
Yafai has wanted a big name opponent for quite some time. The guy that Yafai has been mentioning the most is Roman Gonzalez. That’s the fight Yafai wants. Yafai hasn’t overly ambitious in calling out Rungvisai. He obviously knows his limitations. Calling out a depleted Gonzalez is one thing, but calling out Rungvisai is another than completely. Yafai is showing a certain amount of ambition in choosing to travel to the U.S to defend his WBA title against Carmona rather than someone tougher like Juan Francisco Estrada.
Yafai must keep his focus on Carmona on Saturday night and not start thinking ahead about fighting the winner of the Ancajas vs. Sultan fight. If Yafai doesn’t beat Carmona on Saturday, then he needs to forget about facing the winner of the Ancajas-Sultan winner because it’s not going to happen.