By Len Hayward,
Jerwin Ancajas’ rising star debuted in the United States on Saturday and he made an impression on those in attendance at the American Bank Center and a national television audience.
Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez had the early momentum from the crowd but Ancajas’ ability to jab and come back with hard punches kept Gonzalez on the defensive through much of the bout.
Finally, in the 10th round, Ancajas was too much and knocked Gonzalez down twice with the final one resulting in a knockout for Ancajas, 25, as he retained the IBF Junior Bantamweight World Title.
It was Ancajas’ 19th knockout of his professional career and his mentor and boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao was said to have prayed over him prior to the fight.
The two talked on Saturday and Pacquiao offered the simple advice of staying relaxed and “don’t put pressure on yourself and just fight your fight.”
“I felt very strong in there, more importantly I had a lot of strength near the end of the fight,” said Ancajas, who is now 27-1-1 in his career. “(Gonzalez) is a very tough challenger. Like Manny (Pacquiao) told me I did the best I could do.