‘Bam’ fights for first World title in Phoenix on Saturday after Rungvisai falls ill
Jesse Rodriguez will fight for his first World title as he steps up to take on Carlos Cuadras for the vacant WBC World Super-Flyweight title at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday night (February 5), live worldwide on DAZN.
Rodriguez (14-0 10 KOs) announced a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom last week, with the intention of closing in on a World title shot in 2022 with a fight on Saturday night’s bill.
That World title tilt now comes in his first fight with Hearn as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai was forced out of the rematch with Cuadras over the weekend through a non-COVID related illness, taken ill in the fight hotel having arrived in Arizona last Wednesday.
Robert Garcia-trained talent Rodriguez, who recently turned 22, featured on multiple 2022 fighters to watch lists, and when ‘Bam’ spoke of his desire to fight for World titles upon penning a deal with Hearn, he didn’t expect it to be so soon but he’s ready to take a golden opportunity with both hands and join his brother Joshua Franco as a World champion.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be fighting for the WBC World title,” said Rodriguez. “It’s always been a dream of mine to become World champion and that dream will become reality this weekend. I want to thank RGBA, Teiken, and Matchroom, without them this wouldn’t be possible. On Saturday night, San Antonio will have another World champion!”
Cuadras (39-4-1 27 KOs) was aiming to repeat his victory over Rungvisai where he ripped the green and gold belt from the Thai star in May 2014 in his Mexico homeland, but now the 33 year old refocuses on a new test in the young tyro Rodriguez.
It’s the second time that the Cuadras has tried to reclaim the throne and comes on the back of his last battle for the belt where he floored defending champion Estrada in the third round of his defense before the champion prevailed in Mexico in October 2020 – and he sends his well-wishes to his former foe while excited to still have the chance to become a World ruler again.
“I heard Rungvisai got sick, we arrived with my team last night to Phoenix, I hope he is stable and without complications,” said Cuadras. “For my part, I’m ready and grateful with Teiken, Matchroom and the WBC for the opportunity to fight Jesse, who is a good fighter.”
Rodriguez stepping in to take on Cuadras comes a week after another young star, Julio Cesar Martinez, set the tone by taking Juan Francisco Estrada’s place to tackle Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez in San Diego on March 5 in what promises to be an explosive clash – and Hearn echoed his words from that change in expecting both men to rise to a new challenge this weekend.
“Once again, my hat goes off to both Carlos, Jesse and their teams for making this happen,” said Hearn. “Both camps and fighters were quick to get this fight together after Srisaket was taken ill and unable to fight, and we wish him well.
“But what a fight we have in prospect. Carlos has the chance to become a two-time World champion and eye up the winner of the Chocolatito-Martinez fight, and Jesse has been chomping at the bit to get a World title shot and victory on Saturday night catapults him into the mix for huge fights in 2022.
“The lower weights always deliver, and fate may well have sent us another barn-burner to light up Phoenix on Saturday night.”
Cuadras and Rodriguez clash on a big night of action in Phoenix with more World title action on the card as Jamie Mitchell (7-0-2 4 KOs) makes the first defense of her WBA Bantamweight title against Carly Skelly (4-0-1).
Raymond Ford (10-0-1 6 KOs) defends his WBA Continental Featherweight title for the second time against Edward Vazquez (11-0 3 KOs), Fernando Diaz (10-1-1 3 KOs) was set to face Rodriguez but now meets unbeaten Phoenix man Lorenzo Smith (10-0 8 KOs) another new Matchroom Stateside signing Aaron Aponte (4-0 KOs) looks to extend his unbeaten start to life in the paid ranks against unbeaten Canadian Louis Jourdain (2-0 1 KO), Light Heavyweight talent Khalil Coe (1-0-1 1 KO) also meets Canadian opposition in the form of Stuart Twardzik (1-0-1 1 KO) and there’s a big stage for two Arizona fighters, Heavyweight Adam Stewart (12-1-1 8 KOs) and Middleweight Elijah Garcia (9-0 8 KOs).
Tickets starting at $20 are on sale now from Ticketmaster – fans that require refunds from the original headline fight should contact their point of purchase.