When Janelson Bocachia encounters a supposedly stronger puncher Friday night, the welterweight prospect won’t make the same mistake he has committed in previous fights.
The Detroit native learned during his controversial 10-round split draw with Shinard Bunch 13½ months ago that it isn’t wise to press for knockouts. That strategy hindered him against Bunch (19-1-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC), who seemed to out-box Bocachica in July 2021, and left Bocachica with the only blemish on his professional record (17-0-1, 11 KOs).
The 23-year-old Bocachica will meet Roiman Villa on Friday night in his first fight since he boxed Bunch in Grand Island, Nebraska. Their eight-round, 147-pound bout will open a tripleheader Showtime will televise as part of its “ShoBox: The New Generation” prospect series.
“I’m putting my skills on display this fight, for sure, and using that jab, using that stick, and putting them angles out there,” Bocachica told BoxingScene.com. “That’s something that I think that he doesn’t have.”
Venezuela’s Villa (24-1, 24 KOs) has knocked out all but one of his pro opponents, yet he is relatively untested. Villa, 29, will make his debut in the United States in a fight that’ll take place at Bally’s Event Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“I think he’s an aggressive fighter and he’s not somebody who’s gonna back down,” Bocachica said. “So, I think it’ll be a fight for the most part. But I think that his winning streak and him knocking everybody out is gonna have his head too high, and it’s gonna make the night easier for me.”
Bocachica sparred plenty of rounds against former two-division champ Danny Garcia and junior middleweight contender Charles Conwell while preparing for this fight. He worked on his boxing skills during this camp, primarily a jab that was underutilized during his bout with Bunch.
“I abandoned my jab and I learned that boxing is not about being macho, not about who’s stronger, not about who’s tougher,” Bocachica said. “It’s about winning the fight and who has more skills. You know, it’s not always about proving I’m the strongest guy in there.
“If you go look at that fight, you hear me in the corner, telling my dad, ‘Yeah, this is his last round. This is his last round.’ I thought I was gonna knock him out. I’m not doing that no more. I’m gonna use my skills and let the knockout come, instead of looking for it.”
Filipino featherweight prospect Bernard Angelo Torres (16-0, 7 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Frency Fortunato (13-1, 10 KOs) are set to meet in the 10-round “ShoBox” co-feature Friday night. In the 10-round main event, junior welterweight Joseph Adorno (16-1-2, 14 KOs), of Allentown, Pennsylvania, will square off against Argentina’s Hugo Alberto Roldan (21-0-1, 7 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.