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Julio Cesar Martinez defends WBC flyweight title against Francisco Rodriguez on Canelo-Smith card

Julio Cesar Martinez (left) overwhelmed Moises Calleros. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing
Fighters Network

Francisco Rodriguez will challenge WBC flyweight titleholder Julio Cesar Martinez in an all-Mexico battle on December 19, promoter Oswaldo Kuchle told The Ring late Monday night.

The 12-round bout will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and will precede the main event bout between Canelo Alvarez and Ring Magazine champion Callum Smith.

Both fights will be streamed live on DAZN.

Rodriguez (33-4-1, 24 knockouts), who resides in Monterrey, Mexico, has not fought since November 30 of last year, stopping Jose Maria Cardenas in round 6. 

Since losing back-to-back fights to then-WBO junior flyweight titleholder Donnie Nietes and countryman Moises Fuentes in 2015, Rodriguez has mostly campaigned at 115 pounds. He has displayed more aggression and power in winning his last 14 bouts, including 11 by knockout.

Despite currently being ranked No. 7 by The Ring at junior bantamweight, Kuchle believes Rodriguez can not only make 112 pounds but can pull off the upset win over Martinez.

“It’s a great fight, which we just finalized,” said Kuchle, who runs Promotions del Pueblo. “We are very confident in (Rodriguez to win).”

The 27-year-old Rodriguez became the WBO strawweight titleholder in March 2014 by stopping Merlito Sabillo of the Philippines. Less than five months later, in a unification fight, Rodriguez defeated Japan’s Katsunari Takayama by unanimous decision to add the IBF world title at 105 pounds. 

Martinez (17-1 1 NC, 13 KOs) was scheduled to defend his WBC title against McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico on August 15 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but had to withdraw from the fight, reportedly due to a throat infection.

In his last bout on October 23, Martinez, who is ranked No. 3 by The Ring, stopped late-sub Moises Calleros in round 2 in his hometown of Mexico City. 

The 25-year-old Martinez is trained by Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Alvarez, heavyweight prospect Frank Sanchez, WBC junior featherweight titleholder Luis Nery, and unbeaten lightweight Ryan Garcia. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing