WORCESTER, MA (July 26, 2012) – Most established prizefighters take extended periods off between fights to recharge. Undefeated Dominican sensation Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), however, practically lives in the gym continuing to train hard as he looks ahead to his first world title shot opportunity, hopefully, in 2013.
Instead of taking a well-deserved vacation after his solid March 17th win by unanimous decision over Donovan George for the United States Boxing Association (USBA) super middleweight championship, Rodriguez returned home to Worcester (MA) to be with his family for only a week before returning to work.
Even though he’s driven to succeed for his young family, it’s strictly business for “La Bomba,” at least at this stage of his career, as he continues to makes great sacrifices now in order to invest in the future for his wife, Stephanie, and their five-year-old twins, Serena and Edwin, Jr., who are both special needs children.
Rodriguez is a legitimate world title contender, who is rated as high as No. 3 in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and No. 4 by the World Boxing Council (WBC). He’s also ranked No. 8 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), as well as No. 9 by The Ring Magazine.
Former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik is now set in his sights, but only after Rodriguez gets past his next opponent, unbeaten Jason Escalera (13-0-1, 12 KOs), headlining a DiBella Entertainment presented HBO Boxing After Dark show on September 29 from MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods.
After spending several weeks at the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit, where he served as a chief sparring partner for Andy Lee as he prepared for his WBA middleweight title fight against Julio Caesar Chavez, Jr., Edwin headed Southwest to Houston to train with his mentor, Ronnie Shields.
Once viewed as strictly a brawler with a devastating hook to the body, the 27-year-old Rodriguez displayed vastly improved defense, as well as a more effective jabs and increased head movement, in his impressive victory over George at The Theater in Madison Square Garden in the co-feature on a DiBella Entertainment card headlined by Sergio Martinez versus Mathew Macklin.
Although he reverted to his old boxing style from his amateur days, Rodriguez’ power punching was slightly diminished, so he’s been working with Shields to become a more complete fighter, like a chameleon who constantly adjusts in the ring in order to compete with the elite of the super middleweight division.
The elite of the 168-pound division, however, appears to be tied-up for the immediate future as WBA/WBC champion Andre Ward takes on WBA light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in September, while IBF king Carl Froch and former champion Lucian Bute announced that they’ll both have fights this fall before their rematch in March.
“I sparred at Kronk Gym with guys from 160 pounds up to heavyweights like Eddie Chambers and Jonathan Banks,” Rodriguez said. “It was a great experience for me. That place is a real doghouse with, as they say, plenty of fresh meat. I sparred with five different guys my first day. For my last fight with Donovan George, I worked so hard on defense to where I’m very comfortable. Every time I got cracked, I started to give it back, but Ronnie would calm me down between rounds and get me back working my jab. I hit Donovan George with some good shots, but I knew that he was a big puncher. I felt his power and knew what he had done in a fight with my chief sparring partner, (world rated light heavyweight) Cornelius White. George has one-punch power. It got a little boring and I wanted to brawl, but I stuck to my game plan.
“Now, I am working on sitting down more on my punches. We’re working to get my power back up so I can be more complete as an overall boxer/puncher. I’d fight any of the top super middleweights. There are so many champs and former champs in the super middleweight division right now. I’ll keep working to improve, building my name, and sooner or later I’m going to get my world title shot. I’ve got a dream team working for me in (promoter) Lou DiBella, (manager) Larry Army and (trainer) Ronnie Shields. There’s no rush, I’m still young. As Ronnie says, it’s not about fighting for the world title – it’s really about winning the world title and keeping it for a long time.”
Rodriguez finds himself in a wave of new contenders on the rise, including Thomas Oosthuizan, Adonis Stevenson, George Groves and James DeGale.
“We believe Edwin can beat anybody in the super middleweight division, right now, because he’s such a good multi-dimensional fighter,” Army remarked. “He showed defensive improvement in his last fight. He has above average speed, a great chin, and he’s working hard with Ronnie to bring back his power. Edwin’s undefeated and he won’t allow himself to lose. His brawling made him more exciting, but he’s developing into a complete package.
“His time will come. The super middleweight world title situation is unclear. Ward is fighting Dawson and nobody’s sure if Ward will stay at super middleweight or move up to light heavyweight. Looks like neither Froch nor Bute will be available until next spring at the earliest and (World Boxing Organization champion Robert) Stieglitz won’t leave Germany. The guy we want is Pavlik. I don’t believe he wants any part of Edwin. Pavlik had a much more difficult time fighting (Will) Rosinksy than Edwin did. But, we all know, Edwin can’t even think about Pavlik until he takes care of business September 29th with Jason Escalera.”
Rodriguez has earned his boxing bones, so to speak, having defeated his last five opponents – George (22-1-1), Rosinsky (14-0), Chris Traietti (10-2), Aaron Pryor, Jr. (15-2) and James McGirt (22-2-1) – who had an accumulative record of 83-7-2 and an outstanding 90-percent winning percentage when they entered the ring to fight Edwin. No cupcakes for this dynamic Dominican, for sure, as he quickly approaches elite status himself.
The fuse has been set for “La Bomba” and it’s ready to explode very soon.
Algieri vs. Tovar on Saturday
NEW YORK (July 26, 2012) From deep in the heart of Texas, Raul Tovar heads to New York City today to clash with “The Fighting Pride of Huntington”, Chris Algieri this Saturday night, July 28th at Star Boxing’s “ROCKIN FIGHTS 4” at The Paramount in Huntington, New York.
“I’m ready for war, I have no fear whatsoever about coming to Algieri’s hometown for this fight. I’ve trained hard in the South Texas heat and I can’t wait to fight this guy,” said the Mission, Texas native.
Sporting a record of 10-5-1 with four knockouts, Tovar will challenge the undefeated Algieri, 14-0-0 (7KO’s) in the main event of the six-bout action packed card.
Continued Tovar, “I’ve seen a couple of Algieri’s fights, he’s more of a technical fighters but not very powerful. I’m stronger and I’ve fought much better opposition, this guy doesn’t intimidate me at all.”
“I know the deal, I’m the guy coming to the undefeated prospect’s hometown so I have a lot working against me, but that motivates me more. Once we touch gloves it doesn’t matter how packed the place is with his fans or where were fighting, I’m going to get after him,” continued Tovar.
The 23-year-old Tovar is looking to stay in the win column, riding a two-bout streak, most recently dominating DeShaun Williams on May 19th towards a unanimous decision in Pharr, Texas.
Stated Joe DeGuardia, President of Star Boxing, “I’m happy to hear about Tovar’s attitude for the fight. Chris has drawn packed houses for the last three shows at The Paramount and the fans are going to see a terrific night of boxing on Saturday night.”
As he headed to the airport on Thursday morning Tovar finished by saying, “I ran fifteen miles yesterday in the South Texas heat, I’ve been training everyday for two months down here for this fight. Can’t wait for Saturday night.”
Advance tickets for “ROCKIN FIGHTS 4”, priced at $50 and $100, are available through Ticketmaster, (www.Ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000) or through The Paramount Box Office, (631) 673-7300.
Special VIP/Red Carpet Seating along with advance tickets are also available by calling Star Boxing at (718) 823-2000 or on their website www.StarBoxing.com. Doors will open at 7pm with the first bell at 7:30pm.
The Paramount is located at 370 New York Avenue, Huntington, New York, 11743. For directions and more information, please visit their website at www.paramountny.com
Women boxers to look out for at the London 2012 Olympic Games
London, Great Britain, 26 July 2012 – With just a few days to go until the biggest show on Earth gets underway in the British capital, we look at the men and women in each of the weight categories who can have a real impact at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In the final part of this series, we examine the Fly (51kg), Light (60kg) and Middleweight (75kg) women.
Women Flyweight (51kg)
Ren Cancan won gold at the most recent AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in China, a title she defended once again. Her main rival in London will be Great Britain’s Nicola Adams, whom she has defeated in the last two World Championships finals. Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte, also known as Mary Kom, moved up weight classes in order to qualify for the Olympic Games and is determined not to leave the capital without at least a medal. Veteran Karolina Michalczuk from Poland, Russia’s Elena Savelyeva and the American Marlen Esparza, who was recently featured in Vogue magazine, are also tough competitors who can really make a difference.
Women Lightweight (60kg)
Difficult to look beyond the Irish icon Katie Taylor (photo) for this one, she was recently crowned a quadruple AIBA World Champion and took the best boxer trophy in China. Her main rival will be the impressive Russian Sofya Ochigava, who she defeated in the final. Quanitta Lee ‘Queen’ Underwood and Great Britain’s Natasha Jones are the other favourites behind the front two. New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard trained with the AIBA Road to London programs and sparred with some of the best boxers around in preparation for the Olympic Games so could be a dark horse in the draw.
Women Middleweight (75kg)
Great Britain’s Savannah Marshall, a 21-year-old orthodox fighter from Hartlepool, dubbed the ‘Silent Assassin’, became the first British woman to be crowned an AIBA World Champion after taking gold at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships Qinhuangdao 2012 and now will be the firm favourite to take the Olympic title after defeating all before her in China. Marshall will be the one to beat, but she has some tough opposition to deal with. Azerbaijan’s Elena Vystropova came second to the young Brit in the World Championships this year and after losing by just two points in the final, she will firmly believe that she can claim gold at the ExCeL London on 9 July when then women’s finals take place. Canada’s triple AIBA World Champion Mary Spencer was one of the sport’s dominant forces in recent years so will be keen to re-assert her authority on the young pretenders. Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova was the Heavyweight (81kg) AIBA World Champion in 2010 so her power makes her a major contender too. Finally, American teenage sensation Claressa Shields is one the most talented fighters to ever emerge in women’s boxing and even though she is only 17, she has all the attributes of a future great.