Saturday night was a tough one for Belfast boxing brothers Jamie and Michael Conlan.
Fighting in front of his hometown crowd, Jamie failed in his bid to capture the IBF super-flyweight strap and incurred the first blemish on his previously perfect pro record, as he was brutally dismantled by Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines.
Jamie was cut and forced to take several counts as he was relentlessly battered by the excellent southpaw champion. All the while, his younger brother Michael, the two-time Olympian and former world amateur champion turned red-hot professional prospect, watched on helplessly in the corner. Jamie eventually succumbed to defeat in the sixth round.
In spite of the loss, there was plenty of reason for Michael, and Irish boxing fans, to be proud of Jamie. The 31-year-old has established himself as something of a blood and guts warrior in recent years, routinely displaying mind-boggling resiliency and heart to pick up wins under the most difficult of circumstances. While he couldn’t produce more drama against the talented and heavy-handed Ancajas, Jamie entered a typically courageous performance, dragging himself off of the floor time and time again.
When the bout was eventually waved off by referee Steve Gray, the elder Conlan was on his feet. He had just risen from the canvas but was willing to head back into the fray. Gray’s decision to halt the fight and save Conlan from his own bravery, however, was the correct call.
After the bout, Michael expressed his feelings of pride in a touching tweet that was accompanied by a wonderful photo of the brothers alongside the victorious Ancajas.
“Never been more proud of my brother, well done to Jerwin Ancajas, he’s a world class fighter and a great champion,” wrote Michael. “Thank you to the Belfast fans amazing support tonight, proud to be from this city.”
“Head up bro alway be my idol love ya xx.”
Never been more proud of my brother, well done to Jerwin Ancajas, he’s a world class fighter and a great champion. Thank you to the Belfast fans amazing support tonight, proud to be from this city 💙 Head up bro alway be my idol love ya xx @JamieConlan11 pic.twitter.com/NShZGETN8U
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) November 19, 2017
With the win, Ancajas moved to 28-1-1 with 19 KO’s. This was his third successful defence of the IBF title that he won from McJoe Arroyo via unanimous decision last September. All of those defences have ended inside the distance. Ancajas’s lone defeat – a majority decision loss to countryman Mark Anthony Geraldo – occurred all the way back in March of 2012. He has won 15 straight since that setback.
Jamie Conlan dropped to 19-1 with 11 KO’s as a result of the defeat. Considering the resiliency he has shown in the ring over the last few years, one would assume that the man they call ‘The Mexican’ will bounce back.
Michael heads back stateside today and he will write the next chapter in his own professional tale in three weeks time at Madison Square Garden in New York. In what will be his fifth fight in the paid ranks, Conlan is scheduled to face Argentina’s Luis Fernando Molina on the undercard of the highly-anticipated Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux bout.