By Cliff Rold
When 2009 came to a close, one can only wonder what Tomas Rojas (35-12-1, 23 KO) was feeling. Obliterated in two round by Vic Darchinyan in a shot at the Jr. Bantamweight title, a seven fight unbeaten streak was over. He’d tested the world class again, as he had previously against Jorge Arce, Gerry Penalosa, Cristian Mijares, and Anselmo Moreno.
In four fights since Darchinyan, Rojas has not lost again. Traveling to Japan last September, and then again last Saturday, Rojas has picked up the two best wins of his career. Kohei Kono was a legitimate top ten contender at 115 lbs. when Rojas bested him with a unanimous decision last Fall to pick up a vacant WBC belt.
It was the sort of feel good capper for a veteran anyone could be happy for.
Heading into last weekend, the epilogue seemed destined for less optimistic feeling. Former two-time WBA beltholder Nobuo Nashiro (14-3-1, 9 KO) was widely seen as the second best active fighter in the division behind Mexico’s Hugo Cazares. According to reports out of Japan this weekend, as he always does, Nashiro pressured and pushed and fought.
While this scribe has not yet seen the fight, there is little controversy being reported. Why would there be? When the visitor picks up a unanimous decision on the road, it’s a pretty good sign they earned the duke.
And Rojas, in picking up and continuing to plug away, has earned the respect of any fight fan.
115: Rojas’ win shakes up the ratings in a big, big way. He moves from #7 to #4 behind only Mijares, the undefeated Omar Narvaez, and Cazares. Darchinyan remains listed as the lineal champion thought that should be cleared up as the year goes on. Another defeat at Bantamweight could mean a trip back to 115 and the Darchinyan camp has never ruled such a move out. Nashiro falls to #5.
112: Japan’s Takefumi Sakata, a former WBA titlist, announced his retirement in mid-January and exits the ratings. Sakata can be best remembered for a rousing war with Roberto Vasquez in 2007 in their second of two fights. It was a fine career. Former WBA 108 lb. titlist Juan Carlos Reveco has vacated his belt and officially moved to Flyweight after a win in the division last month. He enters the top ten.
108: Everyone below Reveco moves up a notch and interim WBA titlist Roman Gonzalez now takes over the full honors…at least those not held by “Super” (and legitimate lineal) World Champion Giovanni Segura.
These moves and other items of interest can be found in the updated ratings.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]