LAST year while the rest of Davao was still reeling from the effects of a bomb blast at the Roxas market, Jerwin Ancajas detonated some fireworks of his own at the Philippine Navy Gym in Taguig City when he upset McJoe Arroyo to wrest the IBF super flyweight belt and become our newest boxing champion.

Jerwin ‘s win was quite an accomplishment considering that it came at the expense of Arroyo, an undefeated Puerto Rican fighter highly regarded in boxing circles.

DEFENSE. Today Ancajas makes the first defense of his title when he takes on Jose Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico at the Cotai Arena in the glitzy Venetian Resort in Macau, China.

Rodriguez sports an impressive record of 32-4, with 19KOs. He’s visited our country once before when he fought Milan Melindo at the Araneta Coliseum back in 2013 and lost via unanimous decision.

This is a good choice for a first defense, opponent-wise and venue-wise. Now all that Ancajas has to do is win impressively to catch the eye of an increasingly fickle boxing audience.

REMATCH. Another big fight coming our way tomorrow is the rematch between Carl Frampton and Leo Sta Cruz for the WBA featherweight title.

To recall, their first fight last year was a barnburner which saw Frampton romp away with the belt after moving up from the super bantamweight division.

That win made a star out of Frampton and promoters are optimistic that if he can repeat over Sta Cruz he has the potential to be as big a star as Ricky Hatton.

Sta Cruz (32-1, 18KOs) of course has other plans.

He’s a guy who has defeated the likes of Cristian Mijares and Abner Mares and has every intention of avenging the sole blemish on his career.

I, for one, am leaning towards Sta Cruz for this rematch.

The first encounter was very close and could arguably have been scored either way.

The shorter, more compact Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) was able to get inside and score often but when Sta Cruz was able to find his range, he landed huge shots that had Frampton reeling.

The key here for Sta Cruz is utilizing his height and reach advantage and being able to consistently keep his hands busy.

It’s going to be another great fight and that’s why like Sta Cruz, I’m hoping for a trilogy.

HE SAID IT. “If I lost to Frampton twice I would consider retiring. I’m aiming for the trilogy.”—Leo Sta Cruz interview on IFLTV.

LAST ROUND. It’s on one of my best buddies that I can always count on, sober or otherwise, Sigfred Melleza. Happy birthday and cheers!