By: Sean Crose
“Our last two opponents were southpaws,” says 26-2 featherweight Jesus Rojas, who will be facing 15-2 orthodox contender Can Xu on January 26th at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. “We’re working on our jab,” he says of training camp, “we’re working on our head movement, and we’re working on our lateral movement.” Indeed, different fighters require different camps. “What changed primarily,” says Rojas, “was the sparring. We’re (now) sparring with people who are right handers.” The fight, which will be for the WBA featherweight title, is one Rojas wants to win in impressive fashion.
“I want to make sure that I win impressively,” the Caguas, the Puerto Rico native claims. An impressive win, after all, can lead to fights with such names as “Oscar Valdez, Leo Santa Cruz, or even (Josh) Warrington.” Not that he’s writing off Xu. “You have to be careful with what you’re doing with him,” he says of his upcoming opponent. “He’s a tall, strong boxer, and he’s ranked.” A native of China, Xu, 24, will be fighting on US soil for the second time in a row, his first American endeavor being a split decision win over Enrique Bernache last September in Las Vegas.
Rojas, on the other hand, is hoping to return in grand fashion after dropping a unanimous decision to Joseph Diaz last August in California. That fight was supposed to be for the WBA featherweight championship, but Diaz showed up a bit heavy and lost the opportunity to be crowned as a titlist. “I don’t think it (the weight) had an effect on the fight itself,” Rojas says with refreshing honesty. Still, Rojas feels Diaz lost “the opportunity to earn the title by losing the fight on the scale.” It’s simply something Rojas feels is indicative of “a lack of discipline.”
As for the future, Rojas has big plans for 2019 (provided he gets past Xu). “The plans are to win this fight and then unify the titles,” he says. As far as the issues that can keep champions from facing off, Rojas feels that’s “something that’s between the promoters.” The man simply wants to become an undisputed champion. “If we don’t have the opportunity to unify,” he claims, “we’ll move up in weight.”