In February 2013, Jhonatan Romero achieved his life-long ambition when he became a world champion. The Colombian edged Alejandro Lopez by hard-fought split decision to claim the vacant IBF junior featherweight title.
It was supposed to be the start of a distinguished championship tenure. Romero, then 26, was in his prime and unbeaten in 23 outings.
However, Romero found out that this can be a vicious business when he lost his title to Spanish brawler Kiko Martinez, via sixth-round stoppage, just six months later. Since that time, the Columbian boxer-puncher has done his best to get his career back on track.
Today, “Momo” is nearing his 32nd birthday. He is unbeaten in eight contests since the Martinez reverse and his record is now 31-1, 17 knockouts. The rich trappings of success are no longer there, but he is determined to make another title run.
“It’s been a tough road back, I feel like I started all over again,” Romero told The Ring through his manager Mauricio Gonzalez. “There is light at the end of the tunnel and I will know how to handle success better now.
“I did not know how to handle the moment, the fame. I went to Colombia and everyone was calling me, I got a key to the city, I met the president of Colombia, was in music videos, everything came too fast.
“I trained hard, like always, but I put extra pressures on myself that were not needed.”
Romero has won both his fights this year, against less than stellar opposition, while waiting for his chance. He has nothing in the works but believes he’ll fight in the first quarter of 2019.
“I would like a warm up or two, but when an opportunity comes you must take it,” said Romero who would relish a fight against the leading featherweights. “I would love to fight Oscar Valdez, Leo Santa Cruz or Carl Frampton.
“I think I have a good five or six years at least [in boxing]. I take care of my body and I have what it takes to stay at a high level.”
His manager said that he intends to bring Romero, who is currently training at home, to Los Angeles in early 2019 and will link him up with highly-respected trainer Manny Robles.
“First we want to bring ‘Momo’ stateside to get a good training camp,” said Gonzalez. “Also, we’re working with Alex Campanovo of Thompson Boxing, Momo’s promoter, to put him in the best situation possible.
“It will be an exciting 2019 and ‘Momo’ will make a lot of noise in the 126-pound division.”
A second shot at glory is all Romero wants, he’ll do the rest.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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