Rojas and Gamboa on Collision Course

Yuriorkis GamboaBy Ted Sares - This [would] be the toughest test yet for Gamboa, though it could be argued he will present Rojas with his toughest test also. --James Slater

This past Saturday, Elio “ The Kid” Rojas (21-1) of Brooklyn by way of the Dominican Republic became the new WBC featherweight champion with a shocking and thrilling unanimous decision over Takahiro Aoh of Japan, shocking because it was a dominant performance in Tokyo and because there really was nothing in The Kid‘s past record to predict such an outcome. The three judges scored it 116-113, 117-111, 118-110 for Rojas. It was the 25-year-old Aoh's first defense of the title he won from Oscar Larios of Mexico in March.

I saw “The Kid fight back in 2004 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts against a super featherweight by the name of Angelo Luis Torres. He won a six-rounder going away, but many in the crowd (including me) were impressed with his technical ability, ring smarts, and educated right hand. He then won 8 more in a row to bring his record to 19-0 before “losing” a controversial SD to Gamaliel “El Plátano” Diaz in Durango, Mexico.. Rojas floored Diaz twice in the ninth stanza and had him all but out, but referee Frank Garza did not stop it. That “win” earned “El Plátano” the right to get chilled by none other than El Niño de Oro, Jorge Linares in a bid for the WBC featherweight title

Meanwhile, Rojas, who still remains far from a household name, bounced back to beat Hector Velazquez (50-11-2 coming in) in a WBC Featherweight Title Eliminator setting up his big win over Aoh.

Now a potential fight with Yuriorkis Gamboa (15-0 and a KO% of 86.67) becomes very possible since both could do it at 125 or 126 pounds and since Gamboa is the interim WBA World featherweight title holder while Rojas now owns the WBC featherweight belt. If they do meet, it would be the classic puncher vs. boxer/technician affair with Rojas having the technical skills to give Gamboa all he could handle. While Rojas has fought better opposition, the free swinging Gamboa has the great amateur pedigree. For his part, Rojas won the gold medal in the featherweight division at the 2002 Central American and Caribbean Games. Oh yes, he has an amateur win over a guy by the name of Juan Manuel Lopez.

If these two should meet and the winner then moves up to super featherweight as seems likely, look for the formidable Jorge Linares to be the opponent. And if he is, look for Linares to win no matter who he fights.

Article posted on 15.07.2009

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