Inoue vs Ancajas Predictions: Takuma steps out of Naoya’s shadow

 | February 23 | 

3 mins read

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Takumi Inoue hasn’t always had it easy. Having perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet for an older brother can do that to a man. While the younger sibling has had a creditable career in his own right, existing in the shadow of modern great Naoya Inoue has not always been easy.

Inoue vs Ancajas Odds

  • Inoue to win @ 1/2
  • Ancajas to win @ 1/8
  • Draw @ 14/1

But the younger Inoue is now a world champion in his own right at the second time of asking. After losing a WBC bantamweight championship challenge to Nordine Oubaali in 2019, it looked like Takuma may never add world honours to the family trophy cabinet. But after beating Liborio Solis last April, Inoue is now the WBA bantamweight king.

His first defence arrives against the excellent former IBF super flyweight boss Jerwin Ancajas. The Filipino ‘Pretty Boy’ reigned as world champion for over five years and racked up nine title defences. Ancajas was also a willing traveller, defending his title in Australia, Northern Ireland, the US and Mexico during his reign. Not many fighters are so willing to step outside of their comfort zone. Fewer still thrive when they do set foot out there.

Now Ancajas steps out of his comfort zone again. After losing his belt to Fernando Martinez, the Filipino lost a rematch to his conqueror. Both defeats came via decision, Ancajas’ first since 2012. So the ‘Pretty Boy’ finds himself at bantamweight looking to rebuild. Inoue stands in his way.

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Inoue has been on a tear since losing that 2019 title challenge. Five wins and a world title to show for it, he might not make the same headlines as his brother, but he is carving a career in his own right. Inoue’s record of four knockouts in 19 fights shows that Naoya’s power isn’t hereditary. But Inoue is a thoughtful boxer who looks to be peaking.

Ancajas’ peak may well be behind him. He went from indestructible to fallible overnight in those two Martinez fights. One wonders if he can summon the same brilliance of his half-decade IBF title run once more. The age of 32 is far from a death sentence, even at the lighter weights. Just ask Nonito Donaire, still contesting title fights in his 40s. But it is true that lighter fighters find it harder to hang on than the big men. Could those years of globe-trotting title defences finally be taking their toll on Ancajas?

I think they are. ‘Pretty Boy’ still has the moves and would give a lot of bantamweights more than they could handle. But I don’t see Inoue being one of them at this stage. I feel like the Japanese boxer will be pushed to the limit, but not beyond it. Inoue will find the reserves to retain his title and, with it, the boxing supremacy of his family. My 8/11 shot here is Inoue on points. It won’t get him out of Naoya’s shadow, but it’ll give us a tidy reminder of his own set of skills.

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