Monday, April 15, 2024  |


Emmanuel Rodriguez reviews Russell triumph, targets world title bout next

Emmanuel Rodriguez. Photo by Shabba Shafiq/ SW33TSCIENCE Photgraphy
Fighters Network

Former bantamweight titleholder Emmanuel Rodriguez breathed new life into his once-promising career by taking the unbeaten record of Gary Antonio Russell at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday.

Rodriguez, who jumped to No. 1 in The Ring ratings at 118 pounds, behind champion Naoya Inoue, put on a virtuoso performance. He dropped Russell in the eighth and dominated through 10 rounds before a clash of heads sent the fight to the scorecards. At the time of the stoppage the Puerto Rican was handily ahead 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93.

“I had to show that I’m on another level,” Rodriguez (21-2, 13 knockouts) told The Ring through Fernando Gaztambide. “I trained hard in Mexico and I’m happy for the victory. My jab and straight right hand were effective and I practiced a lot of body shots that worked very well.”

During the buildup to the fight, Rodriguez described Russell as “basic” and he was able to make the American look that way for long stretches of the encounter.

“Yes, I try to make sure that everything I say can be fulfilled,” Rodriguez offered. “Russell is a great fighter – he has been avoided by many fighters – but I had the quickness and intelligence to dominate him, and I delivered.”

This impressive win brings an end to a difficult passage in Rodriguez’s career. In May 2019, he surrendered his world title to Inoue (KO 2) and spent 18 months out before losing a contentious decision to Reymart Gaballo (SD 12). The bad luck continued when the first fight with Russell, which took place last August, ended in a no-contest when Rodriguez was cut by a clash of heads just 16 seconds into the bout.

However, these setbacks haven’t dampened Rodriguez fighting spirit.

“We always want to fight with the best,” said the ex-champ. “You win, you lose, and there are controversial decisions, but you learn from that and continue moving forward. I’m a more mature fighter because of that.”

This win puts the 30-year-old back in line for another title shot.

“The fight was an [IBF and WBA] eliminator and that’s what we want to go for whether it’s Inoue or anyone else,” Rodriguez stated. “Like I told you, I fight anyone.”


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright