|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - December 14, 2015
Camden, NJ’s Jason Sosa, 18-1-3, 14 KOs, is having a very good year. The junior lightweight has already won five bouts in 2015, all by KO, stretching his knockout streak to 13 straight. He made his Madison Square Garden (Theater) debut in June. He made two appearances in Puerto Rico during 2015, including a one-round stoppage of contender Jerry Belmontes. He signed a promotional agreement with Top Rank. To cap off this eventful year, Sosa will make his HBO debut against Nicholas Walters on Saturday at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY.
The fight with Walters is a big test for Sosa, but an upset win would vault him into the title mix in the 130 pound division. It’s a step up, but Sosa can’t wait for the opportunity.
“It’s a dream come true,” Sosa said of his upcoming fight. “This is a dream come true to every athlete out there. To be fighting on the big stage like I am on December 19th. I’m excited, you know? I’m excited to show the world.”
Fighting on a major network like HBO is certainly a sign that Sosa’s career has reached a peak that a few years ago could not have been predicted. Sosa was a solid local performer who engaged in many entertaining fights and won favor with the demanding Philly fight fans.
From the start, Sosa was a hard worker, tough as can be, and talented, but stood just 5-1-3, 1 KO, after his first nine bouts. Then in late 2012, Sosa teamed with Peltz Boxing and began building an undefeated streak that is still going strong. Sosa has headlined Peltz cards and this year began making key appearances on Top Rank shows in New York and Puerto Rico. The culmination of this successful run comes on Saturday.
“This is (like) my title shot,” Sosa said of the magnitude of the Walters fight. “It’s a life-changer, so to speak. So I’m very excited and December 19th is going to be a great night.”
Despite the platform and level of difficulty of this task, no actual title will be on the line in the fight. Walters gave up his featherweight title on the scales in his last fight. This is his first official step up to 130 pounds. However, a win for Sosa over the legitimately world-class Walters, 26-0, 21 KOs, would indeed be a major statement for the underdog.
“Hopefully (I’ll be considered) one of the top guys at 130 pounds,” Sosa said of a potential win over Walters. “I believe that already, but it’s time to show the world. So beating a guy like him, I’m just going to stay humble as I always do and just wait for my (next) opportunity. I’m promoted by Top Rank and Russell Peltz. So they make the deal on wherever it goes after this.”
Walters is a skilled boxer with a deadly punch and a fine resume. Most believe he will keep his undefeated streak going against Sosa. However, Jason isn’t fazed by this. In fact, he enjoys the underdog role.
“Honestly, I’ve been the underdog for quite a bit (of my career),” Sosa said. “But all the hard work I’ve put in makes me confident. We know a little bit about Walters, but he is coming to my division. I really don’t have as much pressure as he does. I’m here to be the best. This is my division. I’ve been holding this division down for the past 2-3 years.”
Sosa is a confident fighter. Where many rising boxers might want no part of a fighter like Walters, Sosa is the one who pursued the matchup. Promoter Russell Peltz said that this is a fight that Sosa and his trainer Chino Rivas asked for.
“He’s 100% correct,” Sosa said of Peltz’ claim. “I’m excited that we got the opportunity, and I thank Walters and his team for accepting it. I feel great that they decided to fight me.”
Clearly a win on Saturday would launch Sosa’s career into new strata. But what might happen to that career if Sosa loses to Walters on the big stage?
“Honestly, I’m here to fight and I’m here to do my best,” Sosa said. “I don’t really put pressure on myself. I have a lot of faith, so that’s number one. I put in a lot of hard work in the gym. So, when it comes to the day of the fight, I’ll know that I left everything in the gym. I’m confident with fighting. So, every time that I do step into that ring, I’m confident that I’ll walk away with a “W”.
For Sosa, this is the chance he’s been waiting – and fighting – for. Boxers live to show the world what they are capable of doing in the ring. Saturday will be such an opportunity for Jason Sosa.
“I’m excited,” Sosa said. “We’re coming with a great, great game plan, and I’m just staying focused. Hopefully a lot of people around the world will get to see this fight and get to learn a little more about me.”
On fight night, Sosa will be joined by Philadelphians Bryant Jennings and Gabriel Rosado, who are fighting in separate bouts on the same card.
“It’s an honor to be fighting with these guys, top guys from around the area, Jennings and Rosado,” Sosa said. “We’re going to be sharing that ring together. So, it’s time to make some noise in the South Jersey area.”
Walters vs. Sosa opens the HBO Boxing After Dark Telecast on Saturday night.