He was warned over 10 times for fouls, but Jesus Rojas knocked out Claudio Marrero in the seventh round to win the interim WBA featherweight world title Friday night in the main event of a “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” card at the MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom in Las Vegas.
The fight started off well for Marrero, who used his hand-speed advantage to keep Rojas at bay, but it didn’t pan out for very long, as Rojas cut off the ring and bulled him against the ropes, which included five low blows before referee Russell Mora issued a warning.
Rojas connected with a big right hand in the fourth and momentarily had Marrero in trouble on the ropes, putting him in a headlock, and nearly taking him to the canvas. By this time, Rojas had been warned seven times for fouls.
Both fighters were hurt in the fifth, as Rojas landed with several hard right hands, and Marrero followed suit with a combination that wobbled Rojas late in the round.
In the seventh round, as they were trading along the ropes, Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KO’s) countered Marrero’s uppercut with a three-punch combination, with the last being a left hook that sent the champion down.
Although it appeared Marrero could have gotten up, he stayed on his knees, and was counted by Mora at 2 minutes, 59 seconds.
Rojas won despite fouling for a majority of the bout with no point deduction from Mora. Marrero also received a few warnings and was even accused of biting Rojas twice in the ears.
“I’m super happy and super emotional. This is the joy of many years of sacrifice and many fights that have been taken from me,” Rojas said. “I promised my father that I would get a title one day, and even though he is no longer with, my promise to him is complete. We knew that he [Marrero] was going to be aggressive and we purposely worked on our counter-punching, and that was what did the trick.”
Aside from the sphinctery, it was a fan-friendly fight, which served as a great appetizer for Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.