One of the sport’s most promising young stars will return to a familiar site in his quest to become a two-division titlist.
The upcoming vacant WBO flyweight title fight between Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez and Mexico’s Cristian Gonzalez is set to take place April 8 on DAZN from Tech Port Arena in Rodriguez’s hometown of San Antonio. The venue was confirmed by Matchroom Boxing on Monday as part of its full schedule reveal through mid-May.
Rodriguez (17-0, 11KOs) headlined at the intimate locale last June 25, where he returned home as a newly crowned WBC junior bantamweight titlist. He made his first successful defense that night, when he scored an eighth-round knockout of former lineal/two-time WBC 115-pound champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
The win came less than five months after Rodriguez claimed the WBC title in a twelve-round win over Carlos Cuadras last February 5 in Phoenix, Arizona. He took the fight on six days’ notice, replacing an ill Sor Rungvisai and which required a move up in weight to become—at just 22 years of age at the time—boxing’s youngest champ and the first born 2000 or later to win a major title.
Rodriguez now returns to the flyweight division, leaving behind his WBC junior bantamweight title reign that also included a twelve-round decision win over Israel Gonzalez last September 17 in Las Vegas.
It was decided after that fight that the rising star would shut down his Fight of the Year-level 2022 campaign and return as a flyweight. From there came the move to vacate his WBC 115-pound title, while pleading his case during the WBO convention to next compete for the sanctioning body’s flyweight title.
The move came in conjunction with Japan’s Junto Nakatani (24-0, 18KOs) agreeing to relinquish the WBO flyweight title he’d held for two years. Nakatani cited an inability to any longer make the 112-pound limit as the reason, shortly before being named as the number-one contender in the WBO junior bantamweight rankings.
Gonzalez (15-1, 5KOs) was previously ranked number-one but remains in line to challenge for the now vacant title. The 23-year-old from Tultitlan, Mexico has won nine in a row since a split decision defeat in May 2019 which serves as his lone career blemish.
Included among Gonzalez’s win streak is a ten-round victory over former title challenger Saul ‘Baby’ Juarez last June and a pair of early knockout wins in his past two starts. Gonzalez last fought on March 25, when he stopped Juan ‘Pinky’ Alejo at the end of the first round in Mexico City.
Further details were not made available regarding the undercard, though BoxingScene.com has learned that rising featherweight Raymond Ford (13-0-1, 7KOs) will appear.
The 23-year-old southpaw from Camden, New Jersey was in a supporting bout for Rodriguez’s previous homecoming, when he soundly defeated unbeaten Richard Medina over ten rounds last June 25. Ford has since added a sensational eighth-round knockout of Sakaria Lukas on a November 12 DAZN show from Cleveland, Ohio.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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