‘Bam’: ‘I’ll get the winner of Chocolatito-Martinez’

Jesse Rodriguez put on a clinical display to win the WBC World Super-Flyweight title against Carlos Cuadras at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona

Rodriguez (15-0 10 KOs) lived up to the promise that had many pundits calling him the young fighter to watch in 2022 and entered his first ever World title fight against former ruler Cuadras (39-5-1 27 KOs) as a replacement for the unwell Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

‘Bam’ showed no signs of the task being too great despite moving up two weights for his first World title battle and indeed first scheduled 12 round action, and proved the point in the third round, with a peach of an uppercut floored Cuadras in the third round.

The Mexican, who was looking to regain the title he held in 2014-16, kept Rodriguez honest with his experience and power, but the 22 year old showed dazzling footwork and unique angles to consistently clip Cuadras and stepped on the gas to drive his victory home at the end, taking the win 117-110, 117-110 and 115-112 on the cards and becoming the youngest World ruler and first born in the 2000s.

“That was a tough ass fight,” said Rodriguez. “He brought out a Jesse Rodriguez I didn’t know was in me, I’m so happy.

“I knew it was going to be a tough fight, he’s a true warrior, I thought I was going to get him out of there but he’s so strong.

“I stuck to the game plan, used my angles, but in the fifth round I knew he wasn’t going to go so I stayed composed and did my work.

“I feel good at this weight so I will stay here for now but if I get a good fight at 108 pounds or 112 pounds, maybe I’ll get the winner of Chocolatito-Martinez, who knows – I’m just open to the best fights.”

Jamie Mitchell (8-0-2 5 KOs) impressed in the first defense of her WBA Bantamweight title against Carly Skelly (4-1-1), landing a dominant fourth round stoppage win. Skelly hit the canvas hard in the final seconds of the opening round, and Mitchell repeated the trick at the end of the second. Somehow, the Briton made it back to her corner and through a third round, but a barrage in the fourth scrambled the senses one time too many and the referee ended proceedings – Mitchell’s right hand could be a real weapon at 118lbs.

“It was cool, my first defense and my most precious fight as a pro,” said Mitchell. “Shout out to Claressa Shields for getting the win in the UK tonight, we had great sparring in the build-up so thank you to her for that. She’s truly the GWOAT and an inspiration.

“If you are going to run at me, I’m going to stop you in your tracks and that’s what happened.

I am only going to get better, we train all year round, people are sleeping on me but I’m going to slowly wake them up.”

Raymond Ford (11-0-1 6 KOs) defended his WBA Continental Featherweight title with a controversial split decision win over Edward Vazquez (11-1 3 KOs). Ford was defending his title for the second time but started slowly against the Texan challenger, who was full of intent from the off. Ford grew into the fight towards the end and finished strongly and held onto his title with cards of 96-94 Vazquez, 98-92 Ford and 97-93 Ford.

Fernando Diaz (11-1-1 3 KOs) and Lorenzo Smith (10-1 8 KOs) shared ten entertaining rounds at Flyweight that did both their reputations no harm. Smith clipped Diaz with a left hook to put him down in the fifth, and the action heated up as the fight headed to it’s conclusion, with Diaz getting on top of the hometown man in the eighth but Smith fired back in the ninth and both men let everything go in the final round – and with scores of 96-93, 96-93 and 95-94, Diaz got the nod for the win.

Khalil Coe (2-0-1 2 KOs) recorded a dominant second round KO win over Dylan O’Sullivan (1-1) to put the disappointment of a draw last time out behind him. A big uppercut floored O’Sullivan with a minute to go in the second round, and Coe unloaded on the Tennessee man who had no answer for ‘Big Steppa’s’ barrage.

Elijah Garcia (10-0 9 KOs) recorded the ninth stoppage win of his career in front of his hometown crowd, with Antonio Hernandez’s (6-12-2 4 KOs) pulling their game fighter out of harm’s way after three rounds of action.

The opening bout of the night saw local Heavyweight Adam Stewart (13-1-1 8 KOs) winning every round of six and scoring a knockdown in the last to see off Alvin Davie (6-3 5 KOs).

Aaron Aponte’s (5-0 2 KOs) first fight under Matchroom against Louis Jourdain (2-1 1 KO) ended in a shut-out win for the ‘Alien King’.

Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Khalil Coe hopes to impress in debut

Khalil Coe wants to be the latest star to come out of New Jersey as he begins his pro journey on Saturday night (May 29) at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV, live worldwide on DAZN.

Coe enters the paid ranks on the back of a promising time with Team USA and hit the headlines when he knocked out Cuba’s 2016 Olympic gold medal man Julio Cesar La Cruz in June 2018 on his first international assignment.

The Jersey City talent will debut at Light-Heavyweight in Sin City on Saturday night with a view to moving down to 168 pounds, and the rising star wants to become a new fight figure for his city and show that there is a lot more to him than just his win over La Cruz.

“Where I am from, Jersey City, you couldn’t go outside unless you could fight,” said Coe. “People would take stuff from you, so you have to be able to hold your own.

“I love my city, it is crazy but I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else. It made me who I am, it’s made me strong, that’s how I am able to get in the ring and do what I do, it’s the struggle that drove me and I don’t want to go back to where I started. They are trying to get me to where I am going – I love my people for that and I want to make them proud.

“My Mom put me in boxing. I was fighting on the streets and in school, I was getting in trouble so my Mom did it to humble me really. I got into the gym, and I smelt the leather, the bags, everything, and I haven’t looked back since.

“I’ve been waiting on this day for. A long time, I just can’t wait to get out there and showcase my skills. We set up a meeting in New York with Eddie Hearn and I told him, I will put on a show for him.

“The Olympic committee is a hard process, I had to keep qualifying and solidify my spot, so personally I thought that they probably had someone already lined up that they wanted to go instead of me. I just felt that I was ready for the change, and it was my time.

“People started to take an interest in me after I knocked the Cuban out. Every time he posts something, someone tags me! We are connected for life now. But I am not just the Cuban killer, I want to show I don’t just have KO power – I will show that I can box, have good footwork, I’m slick; we’re at a different level now and we’re taking it up.”

Coe makes his debut on a stacked card in Las Vegas, topped by unbeaten WBC World Lightweight champion Devin Haney (25-0 15 KOs) defending his title against former World ruler Jorge Linares (47-5 29 KOs).

There’s another WBC World title belt up for grabs when Chantelle Cameron (13-0 7 KOs) will defend her Super-Lightweight title against Melissa Hernandez (23-7-3 7 KOs) in more World title action, a fascinating battle between two Golden Boy Promotions stablemates as Jason Quigley (18-1 14 KOs) and Shane Mosley Jr (17-3 10 KOs) go toe-to-toe for the WBO NABO Middleweight title and it’s a huge night for Martin J. Ward (24-1-2 11 KOs) as he faces Azinga Fuzile (14-1 8 KOs) in a final eliminator for the IBF World Super-Featherweight title.

Reshat Mati (9-0 7 KOs) enters double figures in the pro game on the night, Ramla Ali (2-0) has been impressive in her two fights since turning pro in October and the first pro female fighter from Somalia gets an introduction to American fight fans on the bill, a card that is rounded off by Devin Haney Promotions’ Darren Cunningham (13-0 7 KOs) continuing his pro rise.