Freudis Rojas may be a young prizefighter, but speaks and fights years beyond his age.
Rojas is making a name for himself in the sport and understands the in’s and out’s as much as a savvy fighter.
The unbeaten Rojas was able to showcase he is not just a hard-hitting puncher, outboxing and defeating Saul Bustos Friday night at the Boeing Center at Tech Port in San Antonio, Texas. Scores were 79-73, 79-73, and 80-72 for Rojas, who improved to 12-0, 11 knockouts.
The 25-year-old Rojas was victorious in his previous bout on July 15, breaking down and stopping Diego Sanchez in the seventh round. The win over Sanchez took place less than five months after Rojas stopped Gilbert Venegas in the opening round.
It was a surreal moment for Rojas, who made his debut in a significant event against Sanchez, which took place on a Showtime Championship Boxing card.
“I was just so happy,” Rojas told BoxingScene prior to facing Bustos. “I think I was more anxious that night. It was my Showtime debut. I tell people that on the walk to the ring, I blacked out. I don’t remember anything. But it was so much fun. I remember looking up at the screen (in the venue) and smiling. It was just a surreal moment for me. There were some butterflies in my stomach. Then again, I’ve said that if there’s no butterflies, then there is something wrong. Those butterflies are always welcome anytime I fight.”
Rojas faced Bustos (now 15-2-1, 8 KOs), who resides in Los Angeles and is trained by Freddie Roach. Bustos had not fought since losing to Alan Sanchez on October 29, but Rojas was not overlooking Bustos.
“All respects to Saul,” said Rojas, who is co-trained by his father and Kay Koroma. “We all have one goal: to be a world champion. We know he’s a tough competitor. I know he’s going to come with a lot of pressure. I know (trainer) Freddie (Roach) is going to tell him the same thing as well and try to get me on the ropes. But myself, my father, and (trainer) Kay Koroma have been training really hard. We know what he’s going to come with. If he has something changed up, we have plan B, plan C, and plan D. So we’re ready for anything that is going to happen (tonight).
“I take every fight as if it’s a world championship fight. He has two hands just like me. The same thing I could do to him, he could do to me. We’ve taken every precaution. I tell people about this fighter being my next big step. Each fight is another big step. So I know beating Saul Bustos will be a big thing for me, especially with him having Freddie Roach in his corner. He’s a Hall of Fame coach so beating (Bustos) will mean a lot to me as well. And that’s not to say that I don’t have a great corner, which I do. I’m taking this fight as if it’s a world championship fight. I’m not taking him lightly and he’s not taking me lightly.”
Rojas recently was in the news when Sampson Lewkowicz signed him to a promotional deal. Lewkowicz is said to have discovered Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez, and promotes the likes of David Benavidez, Sebastian Fundora and Michel Rivera.
After hearing Lewkowicz wanted to sign him, Rojas felt he had finally made it in the sport and hoped to continue being guided by the right people in the sport.
“I was so happy when I found out (Sampson) was interested in me,” said Rojas. “He’s one of the top dogs in this game. I trust him fully with my career. I do feel he’s going to take me to those right steps to get to where I want to be, (which is) undisputed or world champion. I believe he was the best and most rational decision I ever made in my life. It makes me happy that I have him in my corner and having him believe in me the way that my team believes in me. It’s great knowing I have one of the best promoters in the game behind my back.”
Having been born and raised in Las Vegas, Rojas has sparred against top contenders, prospects, and unbeaten fighters. Rojas hopes to continue fighting often as he believes fighting often will sharpen his skill-set and make him a better overall fighter.
Rojas is confident he is on the right track and tonight will be his opportunity to continue demonstrating what he is capable of.
“Like I said in the post-fight interview (on July 15), I’m like a rooster. My coaches throw me into a fight and I’m ready to fight. It’s something that I’ve been bred to do and I do know what to do. The more I fight, the better it is for me. It’s weird telling people that but that’s something I want to keep doing. I want to fight on these platforms. It gets me exposure to people around the world. To boxing fans and not even boxing fans, those who follow the sport. I’m very grateful to fight on these platforms.
“I’ve sparred many different fighters. The boxing world is very small. I’ve sparred contender Kenneth Sims, (unbeaten prospect) Demler Zamora, etc. Iron sharpens iron. Fighters come to Vegas. They say they can’t find sparring. That’s not true. They’re just scared and don’t want to face anyone. There’s no way you can come to Vegas and not find sparring. There’s so many gyms. I was born and raised in Vegas. I know all the gyms in town.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing