Julian Rodriguez ends 21-month layoff with decision win over Kashon Hutchinson
Julian Rodriguez admits he was “rusty as s—t” after 21 months out of the ring, but prevailed Friday with a unanimous decision win in his ring return.
The junior welterweight from Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. defeated Kashon Hutchinson over eight rounds at the Wind Creek Events Center in Bethlehem, Pa.
One judge saw it 80-72 for Rodriguez (22-1, 14 KOs), which was not representative of the competitive nature of the junior welterweight bout. The other two scored it 78-74.
Rodriguez, 28, looked like he was headed for an early night in the first round, as he bombed away on the 29-year-old Hutchinson of Reading, Pa. Rodriguez continued to press forward with big punches, including an overhand right that rocked Hutchinson back in the second round, before settling in and focusing on the body attack in the fourth.
Hutchinson, who has never been stopped, showed resilience to pull his way back into the fight, and began using his southpaw jab and movement in round 5 to keep Rodriguez on the outside. There was far less excitement in the second half of the fight than in the first as Rodriguez’s activity slipped as the fight went on.
Rodriguez managed to close the fight strongly, landing an overhand right and a left hook with Hutchinson against the ropes at the final bell.
“I wasn’t really too focused on him, I was just wondering why my game plan wasn’t working for me as much, and that’s ring rust for you” admitted Rodriguez in a post-fight interview with Marc Abrams for BXNGTV, which streamed the fight live.
“These last two years I’ve been dealing with stuff outside the ring with contracts but now it’s right back to being active and hopefully I won’t have these rusty fights anymore,” Rodriguez added, alluding to managerial issues he has been handling outside the ring.
The fight was Rodriguez’s first since his first defeat, an eighth round stoppage loss to Jose Pedraza in June of 2021, which was his last fight under Top Rank after turning professional under them in 2013.
Hutchinson, who started his career 3-5, sees his seven fight winning streak ended following wins over previously unbeaten fighters James Martin and Edgar Torres.
Earlier in the night, Jonathan Rodriguez (14-1-1, 5 KOs) of Bethlehem, Pa. scored a shutout win over Winner Soto (22-12, 12 KOs) of Canalete, Colombia, winning by the scores of 60-54 on all three cards.
Rodriguez, who is originally from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico pushed for the knockout in the closing rounds, but couldn’t put the experienced Soto down in the bantamweight bout.
The show was promoted by Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions.
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].