Undefeated professional and two-time national amateur champion Edwin Rodriguez of Worcester, Mass., returns to the ring April 12 in Boston in a four-round middleweight bout against another experienced boxer. The opponent for the 22-year-old Rodriguez, now 3-0 with two knockouts, is Jeffrey Osborne Jr. of Davenport, Iowa, a sturdy vet of 15 fights..
This will be Rodriguez’s fourth fight in just 11 weeks. The 6-foot Rodriguez is coming off a one-sided unanimous decision over veteran James North March 28 in Salamanca, N.Y. Rodriguez stopped Fitzgerald Johnson in the fourth round Feb. 8 in Boston and halted Samuel Ortiz Gomez in the first Jan. 26 in Mansfield, Mass.
Rodriguez plans on keeping busy, with three more bouts tentatively scheduled through June, giving him seven in five months, a brisk pace for a middleweight.
“We can keep an active schedule because Edwin’s skills and stamina are improving every week,” says trainer Peter Manfredo Sr., who assumed that duty prior to Rodriguez’s third bout.
“I had plenty of fights and success as an amateur, but I realize how much more there is to learn about when you’re a professional,” said Rodriguez. “Peter warned me that would be the case. I believed him then, but I really believe him now.”
Rodriguez won the USA Boxing national championship for 2005 and the Golden Gloves national championship for 2006, both at 165 pounds.
“Edwin’s last opponent, North, had almost 30 fights, and Osborne has 15 and has only been stopped twice,” said Larry Army Jr., Rodriguez’s manager. “You learn in the gym and then get tested in the ring, so we have no problem taking on experienced opponents.”
The 29-year-old Osborne Jr. has a record of 4-9-2 with one knockout.
Rodriguez, who has lived in Worcester since arriving in the United States from his native Dominican Republic during 1998, considered competing for a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, but the premature birth of twins, Edwin Jr. and Serena Lynn, changed his priorities. Stephanie Rapa, Edwin’s fiancee and mother of the twins, is a graduate of Holy Cross with a degree in political science and has been accepted by the Western New England School of Law.