It’s not at all a stretch to suggest that awaiting Jeison Rosario is the toughest fight of his career.
Still, it will pale in comparison to the battle endured by his longtime promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz.
Rosario is days away from his three-belt junior middleweight title unification showdown versus Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17KOs), which headlines a six-fight Showtime Pay-Per-View event this Saturday at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The bout was formally announced this past July, roughly a week before Lewkowicz went under the knife to undergo successful thyroid surgery.
“This victory will be for my promoter, my good friend Sampson Lewkowicz,” Rosario told BoxingScene.com. “For all that he’s been through, to overcome cancer, it will be my honor to present him with the undisputed [154-pound] championship.”
Rosario (20-1-1, 14KOs) has always enjoyed a close bond with the longtime boxing figure, enough to where he confidently re-signed a promotional agreement last May.
The renewed pact came just days after the Miami-based Dominican scored a 10-round win over Jorge Cota to punch his way into title contention. The victory extended his unbeaten streak to seven in a row following an upset knockout loss to Nathaniel Gallimore in April 2017, marking his first fight in the United States after relocating from the Dominican Republic.
Neither party ever lost faith in the other, with Lewkowicz and the Sampson Boxing team always confident in Rosario’s chances of winning a major title. That vision became reality earlier this year, with Rosario scoring an upset 5th round knockout of Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams this past January on the road in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Eight months later comes the next once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the charismatic 25-year old.
“He deserves to become a star in boxing and that’s what I’m going to help him become,” insists Lewkowicz.
Rosario is in a position to accomplish more than that. A win on Saturday will make him the lineal junior middleweight champion as well as the leading candidate for the 2020 Fighter of the Year.
In the boxer’s mind, however, that race has always been decided.
“Every time I step into the ring, I expect a tough fight,” notes Rosario. “That is what I will get from Jermell Charlo. A win [on Saturday] still won’t be as big as what Sampson went through.
“Even after I win and become the undisputed champion, the real champion will always be Sampson Lewkowicz. He is the real Fighter of the Year.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox