In Tokyo this morning, Elio Rojas finished his long road to a title belt by soundly defeating Takahiro Aoh for a version of the featherweight championship. Under the WBC's aboninable open scoring system, Rojas knew he held a big lead after the 4th (39-37, 40-36, 39-37) and 8th (78-74, 79-73, 78-75) rounds. According to the Associated Press, from that point forward, Aoh did hunt for the knockout, but he was not able to succeed, and Rojas won comfortably by scores of 116-113, 117-111, 118-110.
This helps out the featherweight picture pretty significantly. Not that Aoh was a bad fighter, but he certainly wasn't going to leave Japan or face any of the other top titlists. Rojas, on the other hand, has been gunning for a fight with Yuriorkis Gamboa, and while that probably won't happen, he won't be afraid to try unifying with someone else in the weight class, such as Chris John. He's been on Friday Night Fights a few times, so hopefully that early American exposure will help him get more televised fights in the future.
Elsewhere in Japan this morning, Hozumi Hasegawa extended his impressive title defense streak to 10, knocking out Nestor Rocha in the first round. This is his second consecutive first-round knockout (video will be coming soon). After scoring only 6 knockouts in his first 25 fights, Hasegawa has come on lately, winning by early knockout in each of his last four fights. While he has yet to face elite opposition, he has defeated a number of top 10 fighters in his weight class, and probably is knocking on the door of the pound for pound lists.
On the same card, Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez widely outpointed Katsunari Takayama. Despite Ivan Calderon moving up to 108, the infusion of new blood at 105, including Gonzalez, Nkosanthi Joyi, Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Raul Garcia, has made the 105 pound weight class as strong as it's been in many, many years. These guys all come from different parts of the world, and this isn't a big money weight class anywhere outside of Southeast Asia, but let's hope that some of these guys can get together to determine who really is the best out there.