Uchiyama knocks out Mukhlis, Rojas finally wins a title

After losing to nearly every top fighter in the 115 pound weight class over the last decade, Tomas Rojas finally won a title, beating Kohei Kono by unanimous decision in Japan. via boxrec.com

In Saitima, Japan, Takeshi Uchiyama successfully defended his WBA super featherweight title, scoring a fifth round technical knockout of Roy Mukhlis.   In what sounds like a brutal knockout, Uchiyama broke Mukhlis's cheekbone, and Mukhlis had to be carried out of the ring in a stretcher.  Fortunately, a medical examination revealed no brain damage to Mukhlis.  Mukhlis drops to 23-3-2, while Uchiyama extended his record to 16-0 with 13 knockouts.  Boxing Scene has a photo gallery of the card here

On the undercard, Tomas Rojas won a super flyweight title in his second attempt, defeating Kohei Kono by unanimous decision.  Rojas has had an up and down career, but is much better than his 34-12-1 record indicates.  Like many Mexican fighters, he turned pro at an unseasonably young age, although since he turned 22, his losses have mostly come to future, former and current titlists, including Vic Darchinyan (who he was outboxing before getting knocked out in the second round), Jorge Arce (who he was outboxing before getting knocked out in the sixth round), Anselmo Moreno, Gerry Penalosa and Cristian Mijares. 

In the bout, Rojas was reportedly able to put his height advantage to good use, dominating the much smaller Kono from the outside for most of the fight.  Knowing he was down on the cards, due to the WBC's open scoring system, Kono turned up the heat in the later rounds, and was able to score a knockdown in the 12th and final stanza.  Shaken but not stirred, Rojas was able to survive until the final bell and take home the title. 

For Kono, it may be back to the drawing board.  He's been able to defeat most of the domestic competition for the last few years, but this was a much wider loss than his close decision loss to Nobuo Nashiro in his previous title shot. 

For Rojas, this may be an opportunity to finally get long money against a name opponent.  While the title he won had been vacated by Vic Darchinyan, he's fought so many top fighters as an opponent, often on short notice, that it would be nice to see him get an opportunity against a known fighter while having equal billing.  Unfortunately, most of the stronger fighters at 115 have moved up to 118, although a unification bout between Rojas and Topo Rosas would be a heck of a fight.

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