Las Vegas native Rolando “Rolly’’ Romero secured a ninth-round TKO against top contender Ismael Barroso. Despite being behind on all three judges’ scorecards, Romero claimed the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Title on Saturday, live on SHOWTIME, from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
A year after his last appearance in the ring and the first loss of his career, Romero was crowned the new world champion at 27 years old. He overcame a third-round knockdown and managed to defeat the 40-year-old Barroso (24-4-2, 22 KOs) in a surprising outcome during SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®. The fight was considered to have ended prematurely by referee Tony Weeks, who called off the match at 2:41 of the ninth round.
Romero, acknowledging Barroso’s fighting spirit, stated, “He’s a warrior and should have been allowed to continue. He wanted to keep going and I wanted him to as well.” With this win, Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) became the 89th fighter to win a world title after appearing on SHOBOX: The New Generation.
In his first contest at 140 pounds, Romero delivered a powerful left hook in the ninth round, flooring Barroso. Once the fight continued, both boxers exchanged blows, with Romero landing a strong right but missing with a left hook before Weeks intervened to end the fight.
At the time of stoppage, Romero was behind on all scorecards: 78-73, 77-74, 76-75.
Barroso, who was brought in after Alberto Puello was stripped of the WBA 140-pound title due to a failed VADA test, expressed his disappointment with the fight’s abrupt end. He insisted he was landing superior hits and believed the first knockdown resulted from a push rather than a powerful blow. Barroso also highlighted his superior punch statistics, landing 57 out of 297 punches compared to Romero’s 40 out of 230.
Romero, who was knocked down by a powerful Barroso left in the final moments of the third round, marking only the second time in his career he’d been floored, was candid about his future plans post-fight. “There are only two fights I want,” he declared, “a rematch with Tank Davis or a match with Ryan Garcia. We can do it on Showtime PPV.”