By Miguel Rivera
It took 19 years for Jesus Rojas to fulfill a promise he made to his deceased father to win the world title.
Earlier this week, the boxer (26-1-2, 19 KO's) formally received the World Boxing Association (WBA) interim-featherweight world title, which was awarded to him in mid-September of last year, shortly before the catastrophic passage of hurricane Maria.
"The emotions have already dropped a little," Rojas said to Jose Bartolomei. "At that moment I screamed and I cried. I feel extremely grateful for all this."
Rojas, 31, won the interim-WBA championship by knocking out Claudio Marrero in seven exciting rounds in a contest held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"It's been very hard," Rojas said. "It took me a long time, I started from amateur boxing since I was 11. I could not go to the Olympics when I was younger and when I promised to go for the title at some point in my career, I had several stumbles."
Rojas, who even dedicated a few words to the ashes of his father, was accompanied by his body of work, wife, children and closest friends.
On the other hand, Rojas said that he will be watching with a lot of interest to see who wins the rematch between Mexican rivals Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19KO's) and Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KO's), who are scheduled to collide in June.
Santa Cruz holds the WBA's 'super' title at 126-pounds, while Mares holds the "regular" title at the weight. At some point Rojas will become the mandatory challenger for the winner.
"I am very aware of the fight they are going to have now. I'm interested in facing the winner," Rojas said.
"I'm training, running and started doing physical training three weeks ago to stay in shape. I want to defend my title two or three times and then gain weight to look for another championship."