Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas settled for a draw against Mexican Alejandro Santiago to retain his International Boxing Federation super-flyweight title on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) in Oakland, California.
In his toughest fight since taking the crown in 2016, Ancajas found the aggressive Santiago a worthy challenger in their 12-round bout that marked the sixth title defense of the Panabo, Davao del Norte native.
The judges’ scores were 116-112, 118-111 and 114-114.
Ancaja improved to 31-1-1, with 20 KOs.
More importantly, it further lined him up for a possible unification title match against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand, the reigning World Boxing Council champion, who is regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Santiago’s record now stands at 16-3-4 (7 KOs), but obviously gave the champion everything he could handle in his very first fight in the US.
Ancajas acknowledged it was a tough fight against Santiago, but believed he won it fair and square.
“It was a good, entertaining fight. My timing was a little off. He was a little awkward,” said the champion, who holds a four-inch height advantage against the challenger.
“I felt like I pressed the fight and did enough to win.”
Santiago, from Tijuana, Baja California, insisted he was the better fighter.
“Everyone saw the fight, and everyone saw that I won the fight clearly,” said the Mexican.
CompuBox punch statistics showed Ancajas was slightly ahead in all departments, landing a total of 127 punches out of 589 (22 percent) to Santiago’s 108 of 519 (21 percent).
The Filipinos also landed more jabs (27 of 278) to the Mexican (10 of 182), and in power punches (100 of 311) compared to Santiago (98 of 337).