|Interview: Dominican Elio Rojas to fight Takahiro Aoh for WBC Title!
Interview by Ken Hissner, DoghouseBoxing (May 15, 2009)
I met Dominican featherweight Elio Rojas, 20-1 (13), several months ago in front of the Blue Horizon, in North Philadelphia prior to one of the shows. I was pleased to hear he was training just north of the area in Reading. His interpreter and new trainer Dennis Rivera of King’s Gym advised me Rojas will be fighting Takahiro Aoh, 17-1-1 (8), for his WBC Featherweight title soon.
I recently dropped in at Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Gym and with the help of Rivera and Rojas’ manager Antonio Tineo was able to ask some questions of the #1 contender. It was just announced Rojas will be traveling to Tokyo, Japan to challenge for the title on July 14th.
Ken Hissner: What was your amateur background?
Elio Rojas: In 2001 in Belfast, Ireland, I won a bronze medal at the World Games. I also have won the Central and American Caribbean Games in San Salvador, in 2002.
KH: How old were you and who was your trainer when you started boxing?
ER: I was 6 or 7. My trainer was Rudy Zapata. As a pro it was Lennox Blackmore.
KH: I understand you had a win in the amateurs over Juan Manuel Lopez, the current WBC super bantamweight champion.
ER: That is right. I beat him in the Mexican Festivities tournament. At 26, I cannot make 122 anymore.
KH: What was one of your toughest fights?
ER: In my 18th fight against Luis Bolano, 41-6. He was much more experienced and came in 6 pounds heavier. (This was to be the last 8 rounder for Rojas)
KH: You next fought then unbeaten Johnnie Edwards, 11-0. Was it an easy fight?
ER: Yes, I shut him out.
KH: In July of 2003 billed as a WBC Featherweight Title Eliminator you lost your only fight to Gamaliel Diaz, 21-6-2. What happened?
ER: In the 9th round I scored two knockdowns and thought the referee (Frank Garza) was going to stop it. I was in Mexico and lost a split decision by one point. I felt like I had the world against me. Diaz would go on to fight Jorge Linares for the title and get stopped in 8 rounds.
KH: You went over a year without fighting and in September of 2008 in another eliminator won a decision over Hector Velazquez, 50-11-2. He had won 8 straight. I know you are signed with Don King and he doesn’t keep his fighters very busy does he? (We both laughed)
ER: Velazquez was strong, but my speed and good conditioning dominated.
KH: On July 14th you will travel to Japan to fight the WBC champion Takahiro Aoh. Do you think you must knock him out to win in Japan?
ER: It will be a sweet victory by winning all 12 rounds or knock him out in his own country!
KH: How far in advance will you arrive in Japan?
ER: Twenty days prior to the fight.
KH: Your nickname has always been “the Kid” but I understand you have changed it.
ER: My three favorite fighters are Roy Jones, Jr., Floyd Mayweather and Felix “Tito” Trinidad. I want to be called “Little Tito” now.
KH: I wish you well “Little Tito” and am sure you will win the title.
ER: I put God first in my life! I plan to win the title and fight the other champions for their titles!
e-mail Ken at: email@example.com
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