Boxing Insider Interview with Jesus Rojas: Eager To Face The Best
By: Sean Crose
On August 11th, in Hollywood, the interim WBA world featherweight champ (more on that later) Jesus Rojas, 26-1-2, will defend his title against the 26-1 Joseph Diaz. This might seem problematic on the surface of things since Diaz calls California home. Rojas, however doesn’t mind. “I’ve had the opportunity to fight in places like Las Vegas and Las Angeles,” he tells me, “and I don’t feel any pressure fighting in the territory of Jospeh Diaz Junior.” In fact, Rojas has his own unique take on things. “The pressure,” he says, “is on Diaz.”
Fair enough. It’s Diaz, after all, who has to impress his home crowd. Not that Rojas doesn’t have anyone to impress himself. “I’m also a family man,” he says, adding “that’s been one of the keys” of his successful training camp. A native of Puerto Rico, Rojas is also aware of the island’s rich heritage in the fight game. “It’s an honor and it’s a joy,” he says of representing his home (especially the fact that he’s “the 59th champ” in Puerto Rico’s history) “and I feel really proud of it.” Yet, at the moment, Rojas knows must focus intently on his battle with Rios.
“We’ve definitely been making some changes,” he says of his training. Diaz, who lost his last fight, a title shot against the supremely gifted Gary Russel Jr., will be looking for redemption, a fact Rojas is well aware of. Still, Rojas feels it will be a different kind of fight than Diaz’ failed title attempt last May. Russel, Rojas points out, is a slick boxer, “whereas Jesus Rojas is a guy who comes to fight.” As training winds down, Rojas is ready for fireworks. “I think it’s going to be a war,” he says.
Although Diaz is the man before him, Rojas has plans for the future. “I’m focused on this fight,” he claims, “but I also want to be remembered and known as one of the best world champions and doing that means to fight the best.” One of the best that Rojas would like to face is the WBA super world featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. Like many others, however, Rojas makes it clear that the WBA, which is widely regarded as a random and generally unprofessional organization, isn’t always in the business of ordering matches that would make sense.
“ I can’t really say that I’m going to get the opportunity,” to fight Santa Cruz, he tells me, even though both men hold WBA titles and fight at featherweight. “If we’re unable to make the fight with him,” Rojas claims, “we’re willing to fight any other word champion.”
“I feel sad,” he adds. “I started boxing for eleven years and I’ve been working very hard and training hard…because of that I’m actually very sad that things like that (a match with Santa Cruz) can’t take place.” Great though it is, boxing is a brutal sport – in more ways than one.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Rojas Stops Marrero in the 7th
By: William Holmes
The Marquee Ballroom at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Card.
The venue was a more intimate venue with good views for the fans in attendance.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
The opening bout of the televised card was between Damon Allen Jr. (12-0) and Jayro Duran (10-2) in the lightweight division.
Damon Allen is a Philadelphia native and considered by many to be on of the area’s best prospects.
Allen was in clear control the opening rounds and was able to land his left hook and jab with ease. He was able to control the distance and fight a measured but controlling pace on Duran.
Duran was able to land a thudding right hook in the fifth round that caught Allen by surprise momentarily, but Allen was able to outland Duran for the remainder and in this writer’s opinion still won the round.
Allen won a large majority of the remainder rounds and was sharp with his combinations and didn’t appear to tire even though Duran was able to continuously come forward. However Allen did not show that he had fight stopping power, but he did have good boxing skills.
All three judges scored the bout 79-72 for Damon Allen Jr.
The next bout of the night was in the Super Featherweight Division between Ryan Garcia (10-0) and Miguel Carrizoza (10-2) in the Super Bantamweight division. This bout was for the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title.
Garcia came right out and landed a thudding right hook in the opening seconds that sent Carrizoza down to the mat. As soon as Carrizoza got to his feet Garcia landed another thudding hook that sent him down to the mat and the referee stopped the fight.
Two punches, two knockdowns, quick stoppage. Impressive fight for Garcia.
Ryan Garcia wins by TKO at 0:30 of the first round.
The next bout of the night was between Alexis Salazar (11-3) and Evan Torres (6-4) in the middleweight division. This bout was a TV swing bout.
Salazar was the taller fighter and he attempted to use his reach to keep Torres at bay. Torres, however, applied consistent pressure but he appeared to be more effective in the earlier rounds.
Both boxers took advantage of the opportunity to possibly be on television and had some heavy exchanges in the later rounds.
The final scorecards were read in Torres favor: 59-55, 58-56, and 60-54.
The televised main event was between Claudio Marrero (22-1) and Jesus Rojas (25-1-2) for the WBA Interim Featherweight Title.
Rojas is known for his hard charging come forward style and he had Marrero backing into a corner early. Marrero was mixing his combinations to the body and head and at one point pushed Rojas down into the corner. Marrero landed several good uppercuts in the opening round.
Marrero controlled the distance in the second round and showed he was clearly the fighter with the faster hands. Rojas was able to do a better job in the third round keeping the fight in close quarters, but Marrero was dominating when there was some separation between the two fighters.
Rojas dominated the fourth and fifth rounds and looked like he was wearing Marrero down. He kept his head in the chest of his opponents and was landing heavy shots, though Marrero was able to get in some good combinations of his own.
Marrero was able to retake control in the sixth round by landing good combinations and even backing Rojas up. Marrero could be seen jawing to his opponent throughout the sixth.
Marrero looked like he was catching his second round in the seventh round until Rojas landed a devastating combination with a fight ending left hook that sent Marrero down to the mat. Marrero was badly hurt and unable to get up before the count of ten.
Jesus Rojas wins by knockout at 2:59 of the seventh round.
Frampton Decisions Santa Cruz in Slugfest, Harrison and Garcia Win by TKO
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Frampton Decisions Santa Cruz in Slugfest, Harrison and Garcia Win by TKO
By: William Holmes
Tonight’s edition of Showtime Championship Boxing was presented by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and broadcast live from the Barcalys Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The undercard was packed with televised worthy bouts. Amanda Serrano was able to retain her WBO World Featherweight Championship with a first round TKO over Calixta Silgado. This victory sets up a possible title fight with fellow undefeated Heather “The Heat” Hardy, who was in attendance and watched the bout keenly from ringside.
Two bouts were televised on Showtime Extreme before the start of the main card on showtime. Tevin Farmer was able to score a mild upset over Ivan Redkach with scores of 99-89, 98-90, and 98-90 in the lightweight division. Paulie Malignaggi faced off against Gabriel Bracero in the main event of Showtime Extreme and was able to win the decision victory in the welterweight division with scores of 96-94, 98-92, and 98-92.
Photo Credit: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions
The first televised bout on Showtime was between Tony Harrison (23-1) and Sergey Rabchenko (27-1) in the junior middleweight division.
Tony Harrison, a Detroit native that was formerly trained by the late Emmanuel Steward, is a boxer with a lot of promise that lost some of his luster when he was upset by Willie Nelson.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and felt each other out in the opening round. Harrison began to throw more straight right hands and combinations in the second round and was starting to find his target.
Rabchenko was more aggressive in the third and fourth rounds than Harrison, but he wasn’t able to land many punches of significance as Harrison was able to keep his jab in the face of Rabchenko and out of range.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds played out like the earlier rounds, with Harrison pop shotting Rabchenko but not taking any risks to try and finish the fight.
Fans were starting to boo the action in the seventh round and that continued into the eighth, though Harrison was able to land some hard left hooks to the head of Rabchenko.
Harrison scored a knockdown n the ninth round with crisp straight right hand to the temple of Rabchenko that put him on wobbly legs and down to the mat. He was able to get up before the ten count but still had shaky legs and waived off the bout.
Tony Harrison wins by TKO at 1:18 of the ninth round.
Mikey Garcia (34-0) returned from a two year layoff to face Elio Rojas (24-2) in the Super Lightweight Division in the co-main event of the night.
Garcia refused to touch the gloves of Rojas at the start of the bout. Garcia looked good, physically, in the junior welterweight division, but was tentative in the opening round and might have given it away on inactivity alone.
Rojas threw more punches and landed more punches than Garcia in the second round, but Garcia started to warm up near the end and was able to land a hard lead left hook and straight right hand.
Garcia started off the third round by landing some piston like jabs and was chasing Rojas around the ring. He was able to land a short left hook out of nowhere that sent Rojas to the mat and on one knee. Rojas was able to get back to his feet and land some counter punches when the action continued, but was cracked with a hard straight right hand that sent him to the mat for a second time. Rojas, to his credit, was able to survive the round and second knockdown.
Rojas was able to stay on his feet in the fourth round and connect with an occasional straight right hand, Garcia, however, pressed forward the entire round and landed the heavier shots in the round.
Garcia scored another knockdown in the fifth round with a straight right hand. Rojas beat the count again, but got cracked with a left hook from Garcia that sent him to the mat for the fourth, and final time.
Mikey Garcia wins by TKO at 2:02 of the fifth round.
The main event of the evening was between Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1) and Carl Frampton (22-0) for the WBA World Featherweight Championship.
The upper sections in the Barclays Center were closed off, but the bottom half of the arena was packed and many fans of Carl Frampton were in attendance and were very loud and supportive of their fighter and very hostile towards Santa Cruz.
The crowd was deafening in the opening round and both boxers seemed content with trading leather rather than feeling each other out. Santa Cruz appeared to have landed more, but the crowd roared every time Frampton landed a punch and may have titled the scorecards in his favor.
The crowd continued to sing in the second round to spur their fighter on, and Frampton got them exited when he rocked Santa Cruz with a counter left hook and sent him stumbling backwards. Santa Cruz was able to stay on his feet, and land good shots of his own, but that punch likely won Frampton the round.
Santa Cruz looked recovered by the third round and continued to come forward throwing a high volume of punches, but Frampton landed several crisp counters and dug in some heavy body shots.
The fourth round had several good exchanges, but Santa Cruz appeared to land the higher number of punches and caught Frampton by surprise with a good right hand to the temple. Both fighters landed, and took, several hard shots to the head.
The action slowed down in the fifth round, and the slow down clearly favored Frampton. His counter punches were more noticeable this round and Santa Cruz looked frustrated.
The action picked up again in the sixth round and featured both boxers standing in the middle of the ring and exchanging and firing at will, but Santa Cruz appeared to get the better of Frampton and did good work to the body and head.
Santa Cruz did state that he would begin to take over the fight in the sixth round in pre-fight interviews.
It looked in the seventh round that Santa Cruz’s prediction might come true, as he kept up the pressure and took the fight to Frampton. Frampton was still able to land an occasional counter, but he was not landing them as cleanly as he did in the opening rounds.
Frampton retook control in the eighth round by landing good shots to the body when in tight and connected on several hooks to the head of Santa Cruz.
Frampton did well in the opening minute of the ninth round and was matching the work rate of Santa Cruz, which not many people can do. However, Santa Cruz connected with two hard right hands near the end of the round and was doing some damage on Frampton when his back was against the ropes.
The tenth round could have been scored either way, as Santa Cruz pressed the action but Frampton was landing some good counter shots.
The eleventh round was one of Santa Cruz’s best rounds. He landed several hard right hands and appeared to hurt Frampton once or twice, but Frampton was able to land good shots of his own.
The crowd was on its feet in the final round and neither boxer could have felt comfortable going to the scorecards. Several violent exchanges were made in this round, and both boxers landed their fair share of punches and like several rounds before it, could have gone either way.
It was an exciting and action packed title fight. The judges scored it 114-114, 116-112, 117-111 for Carl Frampton for a majority decision victory.
Undercard Quick Recap:
Josh Taylor (6-0) defeated Evinii Dixon (7-15-1) by TKO at the end of the second round in the junior welterweight division.
Min-Wook Kim (16-1) defeated Louis Cruz (11-2-1) by TKO at 2:33 of the first round in the junior welterweight division.
Jose Gomez (8-0) defeated Josh Crespo (5-4-3) by TKO at 2:31 of the first round in the featherweight division.
Conrad Cummings (10-0-1) defeated Dante Moore (9-1-2) by decision with scores of 59-53, 58-54, and 58-54 in the middleweight division.
Amanda Serrano (29-1) retained her WBO World Featherweight Championship with a TKO victory over Calixta Silgado (14-7-3) at 1:41 of the first round.
Tevin Farmer (22-4-1) defeated Ivan Redkach (19-2-1) by decision with scores of 99-89, 98-90, and 98-90 in the lightweight division.
Paulie Malignaggi (36-7) defeated Gabriel Bracero (24-3) by scores of 96-94, 98-92, and 98-92 in the welterweight division.