Jerwin Ancajas retained his IBF junior bantamweight world title following a unanimous decision on Saturday.
He survived a stiff test from challenger Jonathan Rodriguez to record his ninth straight title defence as he improved to 32-1-2, with 22 KOs after beating the mandatory challenger in the 115-pound weight class.
The 29-year-old Ancajas had to reach into his full bag of tricks to beat the Mexican, with the three judges scoring 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 in the Filipino’s favor at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Norwich, Connecticut.
Ancajas, who is one of six current Filipino world champions, knocked Rodriguez (22-2, 16 KOs) down in the eighth round in the hard-hitting fight though Rodriguez did surprisingly well fighting inside and even landed some of his best punches after the knockdown as he made Ancajas work for the win.
The 25-year-old Rodriguez was coming off a first round knockout of one-time world title challenger Julian Yedras in December.
Ancajas was supposed to defend his belt against Rodriguez last April, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic the fight was postponed.
Ancajas last defended his title on December 2019, when he stopped Miguel Gonzalez in six rounds in Mexico.