Saturday, July 13, 2024  |



Rodriguez, Raheem, Kayode notch wins on Friday Night Fights

Fighters Network

Junior lightweight up-and-comer Juan Antonio Rodriguez outworked late-sub Yenifel Vicente en route to a majority decision in the main event of a Friday Night Fights show in Tacoma, Wash. Former contenders Zahir Raheem and Lateef Kayode also scored victories on the ESPN2-televised card.

Rodriguez, a 25-year-old southpaw from Mexico who was making his U.S. debut, was the aggressor throughout the bout, which he won by scores of 76-75 and 77-75 (twice). The fight was reduced from 10 rounds to eight rounds to accommodate Vicente, a late replacement for former title challenger Arash Usmanee, who suffered an ankle injury a week out from the fight. Vicente, a 27-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, usually fights at junior featherweight and featherweight.

The mobile boxer's only loss before Friday night's setback was a 10-round decision to well-regarded puncher Chris Avalos last August.

In the co-featured bout, 37-year-old former lightweight title challenger Raheem outclassed tough-but limited Byan Jargal over 10 rounds in a junior welterweight bout. The 1996 U.S. Olympian, who turned pro at featherweight, won by scores o 99-91 (twice) and 97-93. The fight was a little more competitive than the official tallies indicate, as Jargal (17-5-3, 11 KOs), a 31-year-old Virginia-based Mongolian, closed the final rounds strong.

In the opening fight of the broadcast, Kayode (20-0, 17 KOs), a 30-year-old Nigerian who was once a top-10 cruiserweight, looked sloppy wearing down Tacoma-based journeyman Jonte Willis (9-8-1, 3 KOs) to a sixth-round stoppage in their six-round heavyweight bout.