Jesse Rodriguez vs. Cristian Gonzalez, for vacant WBO 112-pound title, is on for April 8
Jesse Rodriguez’s first major fight at 112 pounds now has a date.
Rodriguez will face Cristian Gonzalez for the vacant WBO flyweight title on April 8, a source confirmed to The Ring on Thursday morning. ESPN’s Mike Coppinger was the first to break the story.
The 12-round bout will take place in Rodriguez’s hometown of San Antonio, Texas, and will likely stream on DAZN. A venue has not yet been finalized, the same source told The Ring.
Rodriguez (17-0, 11 knockouts) had a breakthrough 2022, a year that saw him win three fights and earn consideration as a “Fighter of the Year” nominee in several boxing publications. He entered 2022 as a junior flyweight but jumped two weight classes to defeat former titleholder Carlos Cuadras to win the vacant WBC world junior bantamweight title last February.
Over four months later, on June 25, before a sold-out crowd at Tech Port Arena, in San Antonio, the 22-year-old Rodriguez battered former titleholder Srisaket Sor Rungvisai before stopping him in the eighth round. In his most recent bout, on September 17, which took place on the Canelo Alvarez-Gennadiy Golovkin III undercard, Rodriguez defeated Israel Gonzalez by unanimous decision. Rodriguez is currently ranked No. 3 at junior bantamweight by The Ring.
There was talk of Rodriguez possibly facing Roman “Chocolatito’ Gonzalez” but after talking to his team, which includes co-promoters Eddie Hearn and Akihiko Honda, and trainer Robert Garcia, Rodrriguez decided to move down in weight to attempt to unify the flyweight division.
Older brother WBA titleholder Joshua Franco, will attempt to unify the 115-pound division. He is coming off a majority draw against WBO titlist Kazuto Ioka on December 31.
Gonzalez (15-1, 5 KOs), who resides in Tultitlan, Mexico, most recently fought on March 25, knocking out former title challenger Juan Alejo in the opening round. In June 2021, Gonzalez defeated Saul Juarez, another title challenger, by unanimous decision.
The 23-year-old is unbeaten since suffering a split decision loss to current flyweight contender Angel Ayala in May 2019. The loss to Ayala occurred in Gonzalez’s seventh fight as a pro.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.
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