By Ronnie Nathanielsz
World Boxing Council light flyweight champion who suffered two very bad cuts on each eye in his grueling title defense against Filipino southpaw Juanito Rubillar claimed that he was head-butted several times by the veteran title challenger but he declined to claim it was intentional.
Showing his great sense of sportsmanship and the qualities of a true champion Sosa said “I don’t say it was intentional. It was maybe due to his southpaw stance as he came in.”
Sosa had 20 stitches on the cuts which means he will be out for more than three months and may probably be ready to see action once again sometime in March.
With the blood flowing into his eyes and impairing his vision, Sosa decided to launch an all-out attack because, as he pointed out, “I didn’t have a choice. I had to attack and I had to stop him.”
It was the Mexican champion’s seventh successful title defense since winning the vacant crown from Hawaii-based Filipino Brian Viloria in 2006. Sosa has had seven title defenses in just over 18 months. His defense against Rubillar who earned a crack at the world title after scoring a split decision win over former champion Omar Nino Romero. Sosa’s win over Rubillar followed an earlier twelve round unanimous decision over Sonny Boy Jaro in which he was dropped in the 9th round but out-boxed Jaro to win in style.
Despite the head-butts and the cuts, Sosa praised Rubillar for his gallant effort saying “This was a real battle and Rubillar is the warrior I expected him to be. I think I proved I could overcome adversity as a true champion. This victory over such a worthy opponent is a great Christmas gift.”
The 31 year old Rubillar (46-11-7, 22 KOs) was unable to escape the aggressive Sosa despite his efforts to fight back on occasions and after absorbing a hard shot to the liver according to journalist and fight judge Rey Danseco, was groggy and after a flurry of punches referee Harold Laurence stepped in to end the contest with six seconds remaining in round seven.
It was only the second time that Rubillar was stopped in a career where he has battled for the world title or interim crown no less than five times. He praised Sosa as “a great champ[ion” adding I gave it my best but it wasn’t enough.”
WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman said it was “a fantastic fight” and that Rubillar “came to fight, not to box. Sosa put on one of his classiest performances and devastated Rubillar in the seventh round. You cannot image the emotion among the huge crowd of fans. It was a fight that was good for everybody, especially for the WBC and the sport of boxing.”