Tonight in Belfast, reigning IBF super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas proved to be too strong, too powerful and too good for a gutsy Jamie Conlan. The southpaw from The Philippines who is co-promoted by the great Manny Pacquiao scored multiple knockdowns, hurting Conlan to both head and body, before finally getting the TKO at the :52-second mark of round-six.
Now 27-1-1(19), 25 year old Ancajas has impressed many fans and he could go on to become a real star. 31 year old Conlan, known as “The Mexican” due to his thrilling fighting style and his astonishing heart and courage, falls to 19-1(11).
Conlan was under fire from the very start, the challenger going down in the opener. It was hard to see what punch sent the local hero over, but Conlan was in distress, kicking his legs as he was on the canvas. The tough fight – Conlan being a 6/1 underdog on some books – got tougher in the second, as Conlan suffered a cut above his left eye, the damage the result of a clash of heads.
Conlan was badly hurt by a body shot in the third, yet he tried to show defiance. Ancajas was having none of it and soon had his challenger on the deck courtesy of another shot to the midsection. Conlan, as he has done at other times in his remarkably action-packed career, got up, but he was under real fire as he was stuck on the ropes.
Conlan was in the same position in the fourth, the champion again unloading hard body shots. The writing was apparently on the wall, even when taking into account Conlan’s “Gatti-like” toughness. Down again from yet another body shot, Conlan punched the canvas in frustration or pain, or both.
Conlan was still game, throwing punches some of which landed, but he was climbing a monstrous mountain. The Belfast warrior actually enjoyed a spell of success in the fifth, as he landed a right to the head and a left to the body. Ancajas was warned for a low blow, his second warning of the fight, and then, with Conlan going down yet again, the referee ruled the blow a low one – docking the champion a point. Conlan, quite amazingly, was somehow still in the fight. But the brave challenger was hurt right at the end of the fifth, as a right to the head clipped him.
The end came in the sixth, as a right hook that landed behind the head sent Conlan down one more time; on this occasion prompting the third man in the ring to wave it off having see enough.
Conlan gave it his best shot, as he always does, and only his legendary heart kept him in there as long as he lasted. It’s hard to predict where he goes from here. Fans certainly want to see more of Ancajas.