By Jake Donovan
Saturday’s spirited featherweight war in Houston between Xu Can and Jesus Rojas left the boxing world abuzz—and both combatants at odds over the outcome.
Can claimed a surprisingly wide unanimous decision win in his first career title fight and just his second visit to the United States. The 24-year old from southeast China had an answer for everything Rojas had to offer, ultimately prevailing by seemingly too wide scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110.
“This is my second time coming to the USA to fight. Before I came here, I knew it was going to be a very hard fight,” Can (16-2, 2KOs) admitted after scoring the biggest win of his career. “I respect my opponent, Rojas, my friend, he’s very tough. But I knew I can win. I can, I can!”
Both fighters left it all in the ring, throwing well over 2,000 punches between them and giving the judges way too much to think about after each round. Somehow, those watching in attendance at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas or via the device of their choice live on DAZN had it much closer in the end than did the three judges.
There was undoubtedly one invested customer who didn’t agree with the final outcome.
“I don’t feel the decision was correct,” insisted Rojas (26-3-2, 19KOs), whose secondary featherweight title reigns end without a single successful defense. “I don’t know what to say. I’m surprised.”
Rojas entered the bout having held the title since a Sept. ’17 knockout win over Claudio Marrero. A planned title defense last August was downgraded to a non-title fight after intended challenger, Joseph Diaz Jr. came in overweight in an eventual points win over the 32-year old from Puerto Rico.
Saturday’s outcome leaves the exiting titlist with his second straight defeat, one he hopes to avenge as soon as his handlers can get to work.
“I spoke to Golden Boy Promotions and I want the rematch,” Rojas stated of his intended next steps. “I think we worked well, I used my jab and I won the fight.
“Of course, I want the rematch.”