Daly City’s Julaton defends belt against Alcanter by Ryan Maquinana
Neither a questionable scale nor the absence of her world renowned trainer could deter WBO super bantamweight champion Ana Julaton from enjoying her Bay Area homecoming party, as the Daly City native earned a unanimous decision over Franchesca Alcanter on Friday night.
A boisterous crowd packed Richmond’s Craneway Pavilion to capacity as “The Hurricane,” normally a speedster by trade, surprisingly pressured the bigger Alcanter into the ropes and unleashed combinations that scored frequently.
With four-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach stuck in Hollywood due to scheduling conflicts and a scale that peculiarly determined that Julaton weighed 116.5 pounds—a staggering 5.5 under the 122-pound limit—“The Hurricane” was forced to adapt to the situation.
Displaying the guile and heart that made her a champion, Julaton passed the test with flying colors.
“Some things may happen unexpectedly,” said Julaton (8-2-1, 1 KO), whose black and orange trunks matched the Giants baseball jersey she donned in her ring entrance. “Sometimes you just have to stick to the basics, put your head down, and go to work.”
“We were prepared for the event that Freddie wouldn’t be able to make it,” added her advisor, Angelo Reyes, who assumed chief second duties in Roach’s place. “It even happened in the past with Manny Pacquiao when Freddie had prior commitments with other fighters. Ana was working with Freddie as late as Wednesday, and he gave us the right gameplan. We just had to execute it, and we did.”
Alcanter (18-10-1, 9 KOs), a former world title challenger at featherweight and junior lightweight, seemed to enjoy a natural size advantage, having weighed in a full two pounds heavier at 118.5. However, she was unable to utilize it as Julaton called on her superior speed and defense to avoid Alcanter’s vaunted right hand throughout the first six rounds. In the seventh round, a looping left from Julaton followed by a right cross down the pipe found Alcanter’s chin and elicited the crowd’s approval. By then, Julaton sensed her foe weakening and began to stalk Alcanter behind her signature stiff left jab.
However, to Alcanter’s credit, the game fighter refused to fall. The challenger returned fire until the final bell, but it was not enough to take the belt away from a resolute Julaton. Scores were 96-94, 98-92, and 97-93 in favor of the defending champion. “We’re going to the Philippines for our next fight,” said promoter Allan Tremblay. “After that, we’ll be back in North America for the summer.”
To give an idea of the treatment Julaton will receive for her next fight in the Asian archipelago, almost six million Filipinos tuned in to watch her two previous bouts. For this fight, estimates ran as high as 11 million viewers worldwide. “I’m looking forward to having a title fight in the Philippines in April,” added the champ, who will enjoy yet another ticker-tape parade through the streets of Manila in the next few days. “I just wanted to thank the fans in the Bay Area for coming out and supporting me.”