Inoue knocks out Ancajas to defend WBA bantamweight championship belt

Inoue (left) takes down Ancajas with a lethal body punch (Naoki Fukuda via

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Takuma Inoue just proved to the boxing world that he is an entirely different beast than his brother Naoya after stopping Filipino star Jerwin Ancajas in the ninth round to successfully defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight belt on February 24, 2024, in Tokyo.

Criticized that he has been under Naoya’s shadow for the past few years, Takuma embraced his biggest challenge and displayed one of his best technical boxing performances against one of the best Filipino boxers of this generation.

With only 45 seconds remaining in the ninth round, Inoue unleashed a pair of vicious body shots that directly landed to Ancajas’ liver. After a split second, the Filipino pug kneeled down in pain and failed to beat the referee’s 10-second countdown.

Inoue dictated the pace of the fight in the earlier rounds as he showed tremendous discipline of not biting to Ancajas’ traps in the close range.

For the Ancajas camp, the strategy was to engage Inoue in the short distance. That move paid off in several rounds but Inoue’s corner deployed the much-needed adjustments at the start of the third.

With Ancajas always closing the gap to cut through the distance, Inoue wisely backpedaled and fought at his own desired tempo, negating the Filipino’s ability to throw a flurry of punches in a jiffy.

Inoue finally disposed Ancajas’ first strategy and played the counter-punching game on-point. Every time he moved forward to apply pressure, the Japanese champion held his right hand counter ready and hit him at will.

Ancajas had his moments in the middle of the rounds when he landed several three-punch combinations to Inoue’s head and mid-section. In retaliation, the current WBA bantamweight king navigated his options and decided to stick with his one-punch efficiency to pile up his points.

All hell broke loose in the ninth round as Inoue was able to find a window of opportunity in the final 50 seconds of the frame.

With the decisive victory, Inoue just improved his professional record to 19 wins, five knockouts, with only a single defeat. On the other hand, the more experienced Ancajas dropped to 34 wins, four losses, and 23 knockouts.