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Scouting Report: Freudis "Freddy" Rojas

Caryn A. Tate on September 15, 2023


“Anybody can be a champion, anybody can be number one, and anybody can be the best.”

Freudis “Freddy” Rojas (11-0, 11 KOs) has a lot of advantages and accomplishments. A 6’2” welterweight. Southpaw. Undefeated as a professional. A 100% knockout ratio. Debuting on Showtime in his 11th pro fight. In the amateurs he was a two-time USA Boxing National Champion, 2017 World Championships Bronze Medalist, and 2020 US Olympic Team Trials Silver Medalist. 


Some people might elect to sit back and relax with this much going for them. Not 25-year-old Freddy Rojas—and some of that is thanks to the discipline his father instilled in him at a young age.


“In the beginning I used to hate boxing,” Rojas said. “My dad [Freudis Rojas Sr.] boxed back in the day and I saw how hard it was for him in training. I used to beg him and my mom not to make me go to the gym. But he’d still take me. My dad’s been very strict with me, always very disciplined. But it’s good because look at the spot I’m in now because of him.


“I didn’t really start liking boxing until I made the (USA Boxing) junior national team. I was 14 years old. We traveled and I was getting all this cool gear being at the Olympic Training Center, eating good food, seeing all these amazing Olympians, and being around other kids your age. Plus, your parents aren’t around, so you get a little bit of freedom as a kid. 


“Boxing has saved me from a lot of negative things. Some of my relatives were affiliated with some bad stuff, so boxing has kept me away from that. As the years go by I’ve grown to love it. I could say I’ve had no life because it was always just gym, school, church. But now that I’m older I see that my parents were just looking out for me.”


On Friday, September 15, Rojas returns to Showtime—this time on ShoBox. He’ll face Saul Bustos (15-1-1, 8 KOs) in an 8-round bout from San Antonio.


“We do a lot of research and we treat every fight like it’s a world championship fight,” Rojas said. “We watch so much film that I feel like I know this guy, like he’s my best friend or something. It works for me. But if there’s a surprise in the fight, we’ll know how to adjust and fix it right away too.”


As a professional, Rojas is trained by his father and Kay Koroma. Koroma also works with fighters including Shakur Stevenson, Mikaela Mayer, and Efe Ajagba.


“I’ve known Kay since I was 12,” Rojas said. “My dad has known him even longer because they were both coaching for AIBA (now the IBA, or International Boxing Association). Besides my dad, Kay is a father figure I look up to because he’s always been there for me in different situations in my life. He’s one of the few people I look up to and rely on—not just in boxing, but in life. He’s been there for me in some situations that not many people would be.


“Having both him and my father in my corner is a huge ease, having two of the people I’m closest to right there with me.”


Rojas’ father is Cuban, and having been a professional boxer himself, has imparted a lot of experience and wisdom to his son.


“The style that I have is from my dad,” Rojas said. “He installed a lot of things like the movement I would use in the amateurs. Every coach has their own style, and he and Kay don’t try to change my style but they just help it and help me with the things I need to work on.


“I think a lot of fighters nowadays, they forget about the basics and try to do some kind of crazy head movement or flashy stuff. But the basics will take you far. I always say stay humble and stay with your roots, how you started off, because it’s going to take you all the way.”


In Rojas’ last fight on July 15, he fought Diego Santiago Sanchez (19-3, 16 KOs) on the Frank Martin vs. Artem Harutyunyan undercard on Showtime. Sanchez was a come-forward, aggressive fighter who didn’t make it easy for Rojas.


“In camp, my team and I work on whatever style we’re going to face in the fight. We knew Sanchez was a pressure fighter, so we worked a lot on drills with the jab and just sparring a lot of fighters who apply pressure. Since it was a 10-rounder, we were doing 12-14 rounds of sparring. That’s with different people jumping in, and they were all pressure fighters. 


“We worked a lot on just keeping the jab out and taking small steps. Moving smart, you could say. I don’t want to be running around and gassing myself out. Movement is good, but move when you need to move. Don’t do excessive movement. I think a lot of taller fighters move so much, it’s just a waste of energy.


“We were trying to slow the pace down, taking little baby steps. If he’s trying to make it rough, sitting down on his shots, I want to catch and shoot in between (his shots). And tie him up, push him back a bit, and then just reset. So we practiced a lot of small, little steps and popping out the jab, and combinations to set things up. 


“To get the movement I have now, slowing my feet down, it took me two years before that fight to really get good at it. It was hard. I was so used to bing-bing-bing and move-move-move (from the amateurs). That’s probably one of the biggest adjustments for prospects coming up…I started competing when I was 10. I’m 25 now. So for like 12 years I had developed the habit of constant moving. And it’s a hard habit to break. But once a fighter gets it down it’s okay.”


Aside from the mechanics of using his height and reach to his advantage, Rojas understands the importance of the mental aspect of the game.


“Especially with pressure fighters like that, you can’t be moving around so much. You’ve got to sit there toe-to-toe with them sometimes and catch and shoot in between to put them at a halt. Because if he sees a fighter moving away from him, it gives him some confidence.”


Outside of the ring, Rojas has an affinity for cooking. He’s attended culinary school and plans to open a restaurant once he retires from boxing. 


“I did culinary school for six years,” Rojas said. “Four years in high school and then two in college. My dad’s a chef so I guess I get it from him. In the kitchen I feel like the stress and everything is gone. It’s just me—one with the food.”


Rojas’ mother is Mexican and his father is Cuban, so one might expect his preferred cuisine to be from one of those Latin countries. 


“I’m a huge fan of Italian food. Don’t get me wrong—Mexican food is great, Cuban food is great, but Italian food is just kind of where my heart’s at. That pizza and pasta has my heart.”


Rojas looks up to a variety of fighters from different eras. 


“When I was a kid people would say, ‘Here comes Tommy Hearns,’ and I was like, ‘Who the heck is that?’ When I watched him I was like, ‘Oh, I like this guy.’ Tommy Hearns was so tall in that weight class that I felt like I could relate with him. And he’s knocking people out. 


“Guillermo Rigondeaux—his movement is great, especially for his age, and his power punching. Manny Pacquiao for the amount of punches he throws. And Bud (Terence Crawford), he’s one of my favorite fighters as well.”


Rojas has had the benefit of sparring with some of the sport’s top fighters.


“It’s kind of cool that I got to work with Bud,” Rojas said. “Him being the top dog in my weight class and getting compliments from him after working with him, it’s like, wow! If I did something that impressed him, it gives me a boost of confidence. We sparred like 6, 7 times, and he kept calling me back, which was good.


“Then a week later I flew to DC with Kay to train over at Kay’s home gym for a while, and they called us up to spar with Boots (Jaron Ennis). Boots and his pops gave us compliments as well. That’s amazing—a real confidence booster.


“It doesn’t matter if somebody tells you you’ll never be somebody in life—it’s not up to them. I feel like a lot of fighters forget that. I’ve been told my whole life, ‘You’ve got an amateur style,’ ‘You’re too skinny,’ ‘You’ll never make it,’ and for anybody out there who have had people tell them that kind of thing, it’s a lie. 


“Anybody can be a champion, anybody can be number one, and anybody can be the best.”

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