Jackson, Rogers to Fight in Vegas for WBC Titles

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The surprises kept coming at Friday’s press conference with V.I. boxers, as officials announced that both John Jackson and Samuel Rogers will be fighting for a title Dec. 16 at the World Boxing Council’s 49th Annual World Convention in Las Vegas.

“All of the former world champions, all of the biggest current players will be there, all of the people that have been instrumental in the sport up to now,” 340 Boxing President Jose “Tony” Rosario said about the annual event. “So this is a truly historic moment for these guys as they continue to move up in their professional careers.”

The news of Jackson’s title has been kept under wraps for a few weeks in anticipation of Friday’s conference, but boxing officials said they had only heard a few hours before about Rogers’ new opponent and bout. Both Jackson and Rogers are undefeated in their professional careers, and will be taking on equally matched opponents.

Rogers, who boasts a 10-0 record with five knockouts, will be taking on Jamar Freeman out of Wilson, N.C., for a WBC Super Welterweight Title. Up to this point, Rogers had been scheduled to fight Geraldo Ibarra of Houston, and said last week that he had been carefully studying his 11-0 opponent in preparation for the bout. Rogers was surprised with the news Friday that the card had changed, but remained confident that he would be bringing back home the title.

Freeman’s record is 9-0 with two draws and five knockouts.

“We are going to be studying his tape,” Lesley Comissiong of 340 Promotions said after the announcement of Rogers’ new opponent. “But quite frankly, our boxers train to fight any body, so I know that Sam will be prepared when he goes into the ring.”

Officials have also been studying Jackson’s opponent, Keandrae Leatherwood, from Birmingham, Ala., with another undefeated 9-0 record, with six knockouts. The two will be facing off for 10 rounds for a Youth WBC Super Welterweight Title.

“These youth titles were started by the WBC as a way of transitioning young boxers from amateurs to professionals,” Comissiong said. “It is sometimes a long journey for young boxers after they turn pro, and it can take years before they finally get to a title. But we’re ready.

“We’ve been studying this guy, looking at his tapes, and we’re sure that he’s doing the same thing. And we know that our fighter is apt to give him his first defeat on Dec. 16.”

Speaking during the press conference, Jackson also remained confident about his abilities in the ring.

“I can’t see this guy going 10 rounds with me,” he said. “I’m predicting a stoppage.”

Officials said Julius Jackson has also been training and will be making the trip to Las Vegas in case a spot opens up on the card.

“Everyone has heard me speak before about our goal, our dream and what we really want to accomplish with this boxing program,” said the boxers’ coach — and the Jacksons’ father — three-time world champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson.

“At the time, these guys were amateurs. But our goal was develop world champions – I said it way back then, and now it’s happening, and it’s amazing. I really believe in my heart that Samuel Rogers, John Jackson and Julius Jackson will be world champions, and this is the stepping stone.”

The entire community is encouraged to come out and support the boxers, and even make the trip with them to Vegas. According to organizers, 340 Boxing has reserved ringside seats for anyone who’s interested, and is working on special travel deals. For more information call Comissiong at (340) 998-1166.

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