Carolina, Puerto Rico – The IBF world bantamweight champion, Emmanuel “Manny” Rodríguez (19-0, 12 KOs) and his team left for Havana, Cuba to continue training for his unification fight against WBA world champion Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs). This is the semifinal round of the acclaimed World Boxing Super Series.
The date and venue of the event will be announced soon.
“I will be quartered in Cuba for 77 days. It will not be easy to be away from my family for so long, but the sacrifice will be worth it”, said Rodríguez.
“We trust the plan that we have with my new coach William Cruz, and on the track with veteran José Bonet. The results will show in the fight. The chemistry that we developed in these past weeks of light training has been very good. This will be the first time that I’m not the favorite in a fight, and the motivation is incredible. It’s very huge. I like challenges. Our goal and focus is to take the victory and that Puerto Rico continues to shine in boxing”, said an emotional Rodríguez, from the Luis Muñoz Marín Airport in the city of Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Rodríguez’s promoter, Juan Orengo of Fresh Productions Boxing, explained that “this camp will not have room for distractions. It will have a lot of boxing and teamwork. Manny will be in top condition. Also, prospect Jonathan ‘Bum Bum’ López is joining us in Cuba. He is another fighter from our squad, and will fight where the Manny Rodríguez fight takes place. We are very enthusiastic about everything that is happening. Manny was always looking to fight Inoue, and it’s finally happening”.
Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) gives insights on preparations for his Bantamweight Ali Trophy semi-final against Japanese ‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) and predicts to face Zolani Tete in the final.
How has life been since winning your quarter-final against Jason Moloney?
“I rested for three weeks, spending time with family and friends, and now we have been doing some light training for a couple of weeks.”
Do you feel confident after watching the other remaining fighters in the tournament?
“Of course I’m very confident, I know I got what it takes to win. I entered the World Boxing Super Series because I have always wanted to fight the best. Now I’m fighting the boxer who boxing reporters think is winning the whole series, and that’s more motivation for me and my team. Puerto Rico will shine!”
Did anyone impress you?
Honestly, Moloney impressed me the most. He used to fight at 122lb and 126lb. He was the mandatory challenger by the IBF. He came to win and was intelligent but I managed to win the fight 8-4 or 9-3 in my opinion. I really needed that type of fight for 12 good action rounds. Good experience.”
How do you think will win in the other semi-final – Tete vs Donaire?
“Donaire can impress, you’ll never know with him, his left hook is good, veteran, intelligent, but I think Tete has got this with his great jab and ability to use his own rhythm to run the fight in his favour.”
How will you prepare to fight Naoya Inoue and what is your prediction for the fight?
“I have already started training in Puerto Rico but in a few weeks, my team and I are leaving and heading to Cuba to train there. I will be away from home, family and friends to be 100 percent focused on this important fight. I will win no matter what, by KO or UD. That’s my prediction.”
Dates and venues for next year’s sensational semi-finals will be announced soon.