New Faces – Freudis Rojas
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Weight class: welterweight
Height: 6-foot-2 (188 cm)
Amateur record: 175-15 roughly
Turned pro: 2021
Pro record: 11-0 (11 knockouts)
Trainer: Freudis Rojas, Sr., and Kay Koroma
Manager: Marlon Johnson
Promoter: Sampson Boxing
Best night of pro career and why: Rojas points to a step-up win over Diego Santiago (TKO 7) on the Frank Martin-Artem Harutyunyan undercard at the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas on Showtime in mid-July.
“I would probably say my last fight,” Rojas told The Ring. “Even though I was super happy for the opportunity to get that televised spot, it was a lot of pressure. There were people saying I was going to lose and don’t have a pro style but I would say that was a good fight to prove people wrong. People say I move around too much, for me to stay in the pocket and not run was a good example [of what I can do.]”
Worst night of pro career and why: Early in Rojas career he went to boxing school against a wily veteran, which has since stood him in good stead for the future.
“It would probably be a fight I had in Costa Rica against this guy Moises Castro,” he said. “Him being a veteran, he knows the type of tricks to do, he take his time and I got hit with some dumb stuff and had to look back and think, “OK, that’s what we need to work on.'”
What’s Next: Will face once-beaten Saul Bustos as part of a ShoBox triple-header at the Boeing Center at Tech Port, San Antonio, Texas, on Friday.
“I think it’s going to be a great fight, I know he’s young and hungry just like me,” he said. “He’s got Freddie Roach in his corner. I think it’s going to be a tremendous fight from the two of us. Obviously, I think I’m going to come out on top. I know he’s going to come to fight. I have a gameplan that I know is going to work really well that night.”
Bustos (15-1-1, 8 KOs) turned professional in 2014. The 29-year-old Los Angeles native’s career was a little stop start, fighting between Mexico and America. He stepped up last time out and lost his unbeaten record to Alan Sanchez (MD 10).
This is another step up for Rojas, one he’ll be expected to pass but it’ll be interesting to see if he can make a statement of sorts by continuing his knockout streak.
Why he’s a prospect: Rojas was a highly decorated amateur, winning 14 national titles from junior, youth and senior. However, his biggest success came when he won bronze at the 2017 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
“I didn’t realize how big that tournament is until a month later when I was already home,” he admitted. “People were saying it’s a good accomplishment at 18, when I won that medal. That was a surreal moment for me.”
During his amateur career, Rojas met the likes of 2020 Olympic gold medalist Andy Cruz, 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Roniel Iglesias, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Vitaliy Dunaytsev and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Pat McCormack. He also met touted future professionals Vergil Ortiz and Frank Martin.
“I fought a lot of good guys in the amateurs,” he said. “I think that really helps me a lot for the experience.”
Since turning professional, the Vegas-born fighter has sparred with many different fighters from all different weight classes such as Jared Anderson, Efe Ajagba, Caleb Plant, Joe Hicks, Jaron Ennis, Shakur Stevenson and Duke Ragan, all of which gave him different looks.
However, there is one fighter that has shown Rojas what it takes to become a top fighter.
“[Terence] Bud’s [Crawford] really the guy, he’s in the same weight class,” he said. “When I sparred with him it made me realize there’s levels and especially as a pro there’s adjustments through sparring. Maybe something didn’t work in this one but the next one he changed it up or even mid sparring things are changing and he’s catching on, which is something I’m like, ‘I see, it’s timing, catching, when to hit and when not to hit, he can move.’
“He’s definitively the fighter that opened my eyes. He usually brings a couple of people in to spar with him, Bud does a lot of rounds. When I go it’s usually around 6 rounds, four minutes, unless he wants more, then I’ll do more with him. I’ve done this many times.
While Rojas sports a perfect 11-0 record with 11 knockouts, he’s not really an offensive monster.
“Hit and don’t get hit,” he said of his style. “I try to prove sweet science. Why take punishment in there? Of course we are in the entertainment business but it’s our life in there. Fight smart, and show people you don’t always have to bang to finish a fight.”
Rojas caught the eye of Showtime alums Steve Farhood and Raul Marquez who worked the broadcast of in his most recent outing.
“He was quite impressive in July, establishing range and then capitalizing by repeatedly scoring with his southpaw jab,” said Farhood. “At 6’2″, he is long for a welterweight, and while he doesn’t have the natural power of a Thomas Hearns (who does?), his extensive amateur experience has given him a solid base to build on.”
“He was a decorated amateur,” noted Marquez. “[He’s] tall and rangy for his weight class. Needs to sit more on his punches. Looks like a promising prospect.”
His promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, is very excited about what the future has in store for his latest recruit.
“In the electrifying world of boxing, Freudis Rojas emerges as a shining star, casting his brilliance upon the ring with each determined punch,” said Lewkowicz, famed for his work with amongst others David Benevidez and Sergio Martinez. “With a future as promising as his dedication, Rojas embodies the essence of relentless spirit and unyielding drive, painting the canvas of his career with the vibrant colors of triumph and potential. As the boxing world watches in awe, Rojas paves his own path towards greatness, a true testament to the boundless possibilities that await in his bright and promising journey.”
Why he’s a suspect: Rojas isn’t getting carried away and appreciates he’s still developing.
“There’s always room to grow,” he points out. “I’m learning every day, there’s always things that we need to work on. Maybe better footwork, applying pressure, adjusting as the fights go on. We’re still shaping myself as a pro as a whole. There’s a lot of things we need to work on to make it to that top level.”
Farhood feels the main thing is for Rojas to get more ring time.
“Right now, he needs rounds and opponents who can pressure him so he can further mature,” said Farhood, the former EIC of The Ring. “The question at this point is whether, when faced with strong, aggressive 147-pounders, he can keep his distance while maintaining his offensive output.”
Storylines: Rojas was born and raised in Las Vegas, the oldest of four children, though moved three-years ago to Houston. He is of Cuban heritage.
His father, Freudis Sr., was a boxer in Cuba. He fought on the youth and junior national teams but his pathway to the senior team was blocked because his stepfather was against communism and the officials punished the whole family. Thus, Freudis was unable to continue his boxing career.
“That was one of the main reasons he fled from Cuba, so he could fight and have that opportunity,” he said of his father’s fraught passage to America. “He left from Cuba with five other guys and swam to Miami, two or three died along the way.
“When they got to Miami they were told to choose, we can send you to Las Vegas, Michigan or stay in Miami and my dad said, Las Vegas sounded like a Spanish name so, he said, ‘Let me go to Las Vegas.’ He got here at night and thought it was the most beautiful city in the world. The lights were on and everything. The next day, he woke up and opened the blinds and he thought he was dreaming because all he saw was dirt, it was super hot, cars were ugly and thought, ‘Oh my God! What did I do to myself.’ [Laughs]”
Rojas Sr. went on to go 27-2 and shared a ring with the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera in 2009 before retiring. Then he put all his efforts into his children.
“My dad had it planned for all of us,” said Rojas smiling. “We’re a boxing family which is great because I have a lot of support. As my dad was coming up as a fighter in Cuba, as an amateur there or here as a pro, he didn’t have anybody for that support, so he doesn’t want us to be feeling like there’s no support from the family, so them supporting me is amazing.”
Freudis’ younger brother Emmanuel is also a professional, going 4-0, so far. His younger sister is boxing in the amateurs.
With that background it’s unsurprising that Rojas came into boxing at a young age.
“I say since the womb,” he said laughing. “My dad’s always taken me to the gym, but training I would say 9 and competing at 10. When I first made the team as a junior when I was 13, that’s when I fell in love with boxing because from 9 until 13 I absolutely hated boxing. I used to tell my mom, ‘Please tell my dad don’t let me go.’ But when I first made the team and saw we were travelling outside the country and getting all this gear, being at the Olympic training center and hanging around kids my age, I’m like, ‘You know what? I think this is for me.'”
His credits his fathers influence for his chosen profession as his hero.
“I always tell people my dad (is my hero) because of the things he’s gone through,” he explained. “He’s really the reason I’m still in boxing, there was a lot of times I wanted to quit and not do it anymore. If it wasn’t for him giving me that little push, I don’t think I’d still be in the sport to be honest.”
And now he’s here he wants to make the most of the opportunities that come his way.
“To be undisputed of course. One of the main things is for all the kids or people out there who’ve been told they wont make it because they’re too skinny or not good. To prove anybody can be a world champion. You don’t have to have the nicest things, the most skilled. I want to prove to people that even though a lot of people doubt you in life you can still make it out on top.”
Rojas likes the lowkey life.
“I’m married to my boxing bag at the gym, in school to finish up for my nursing program at Nevada State,” he said. “I love cooking, it’s one of my biggest passions. Other than that I really don’t have a life [Laughs] Home, gym, home, gym. Read some books in between, some movies or going to church.
“I don’t have a crazy life but it’s the life that I enjoy and love.”
July 15 – Diego Sanchez – TKO 7
Feb. 25 – Gilbert Venegas – TKO 1
July 30 – Jorge Mendez – RTD 4
May 14 – Jorge Mendez – RTD 4
Jan. 15 – Nicasio Campos RTD 3
Dec. 18 – Ricardo Hernandez – KO 2
July 24 – DeAngelo Cunningham – TKO 2
May 14 – Jader Alves de Oliveira – TKO 2
May 1 – Moises Castro – KO 2
April 17 – Stanley Mendez – TKO 3
Jan. 30 – Luis Solorzano – KO 1