Wednesday, October 04, 2023  |


Jesse Rodriguez-Sunny Edwards flyweight unification bout set for December 16 in Arizona

Jesse Rodriguez beat Israel Gonzalez by unanimous decision in his second WBC junior bantamweight title defense (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom).
Fighters Network

Matchroom Boxing will be busy promoting fight cards in two countries over the next couple of months.

The highly-anticipated world flyweight unification title fight between Jesse Rodriguez and Sunny Edwards will take place on December 16 at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Matchroom Boxing announced Saturday. 

The 12-round bout, which will stream live on DAZN, will be a clash of flyweights rated No. 1 (Edwards) and 4 (Rodriguez), respectively, by The Ring at 112 pounds.  

Rodriguez (18-0, 11 knockouts), who resides in San Antonio, Texas, will return to the same venue where he won his first world title belt as a pro. On February 5 of last year, Rodriguez dropped Carlos Cuadras once en route to a unanimous decision victory, winning the vacant WBC world junior bantamweight title.

The 23-year-old vacated the WBC title after defeating Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Israel Gonzalez. In his last bout on April 8, Rodriguez won the vacant WBO world flyweight title, defeating Cristian Gonzalez by unanimous decision. During the fight, Rodriguez suffered a broken jaw. 

Rodriguez is eager to make a statement and make his case as to why he is the No. 1 flyweight in boxing today.

“I want to thank Matchroom, Teiken (Promotions), and my whole team for making this fight happen,” said Rodriguez, who is trained by Robert Garcia. “This fight will allow me to showcase my skills and prove to everyone that I am not only the best flyweight in the world, but one of the best fighters in the world, period.

“I am excited to be back in Arizona, where I first became a world champion, and I will be 100 percent ready to put on a show on December 16 and become unified world champion.”

Edwards (20-0, 4 KOs), who resides in London, England, made the fourth successful defense of his IBF world title on June 10, defeating Andres Campos of Chile by unanimous decision. In his previous fight on November 11, Edwards defeated Felix Alvarado by unanimous decision.

The 27-year-old has the gift of gab, whether on social media or with the media. Edwards plans to derail Rodriguez and demonstrate his pedigree in the process. 

“I’m looking forward to being involved in one of the biggest flyweight world title fights in boxing history,” said Edwards. “I would like to thank Eddie Hearn, Frank Smith, and Matchroom Boxing and my team for getting me in this position. I’d also like to thank ‘Bam’ (Rodriguez) and his team for accepting the fight, and I am really looking forward to becoming one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world on December 16 in Arizona.

Matchroom Boxing announced three additional cards, all of which will stream on DAZN.

Unbeaten super middleweight Diego Pacheco will face Marcelo Coceres on November 18 at YouTube Theatre in Inglewood, California, not far from his home in South Central Los Angeles. 

Pacheco (19-0, 16 KOs) is coming off an impressive fourth round knockout win over once-beaten Martin Gallegos in his last fight on July 7. In his previous fight on March 11, the 22-year-old stopped fringe contender Jack Cullen, also in the fourth round. 

“I cannot wait to be headlining at home November 18 at the YouTube Theatre,” said Pacheco. “I am looking forward to making a statement and delivering another great performance for all my hometown fans.”

Coceres (32-5-1, 18 KOs), who resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina, stopped Leonel Avila in the second round of his last bout on May 19. The 32-year-old lost by knockout to Billy Joe Saunders in a close in November 2019 and dropped Edgar Berlanga once before losing a close fight in October 2019. 

On September 23, unbeaten junior welterweight Richardson Hitchins of Manhattan, New York will take a significant step up in opposition when he faces former world title challenger Jose Zepeda at the Casino Royale in Orlando, Florida.

Hitchins (16-0, 7 KOs) was scheduled to fight Montana Love on July 15, but the fight was canceled after Love reportedly suffered an injury during training camp. 

In his last bout on February 3, the 26-year-old Hitchins dropped John Bauza twice en route to a one-sided decision in a clash of unbeaten junior welterweights. 

Zepeda (36-3, 27 KOs), who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of La Puente, defeated Neeraj Goyat by unanimous decision in his last bout on March 25. The 34-year-old challenged Regis Prograis for the vacant WBC world junior welterweight title on November 26, losing by knockout in the fourth round.

Also on the card, former undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill (12-3, 5 KOs) of Chicago, Illinois will face Sandy Ryan (6-1, 2 KOs) of Derby, England in a world unification title fight. Middleweight Austin Williams (14-0, 10 KOs) of Houston will square off against Toronto’s Steve Rolls (22-2, 12 KOs) in a 10-round bout. 

Fringe lightweight contender Angel Fierro will face Brayan Zammaripa on September 15 at the Auditorio Municipal in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico.

Fierro (21-1-2, 17 KOs) last fought on March 4, knocking out once-beaten Eduwardo Estela in the seventh round. The 25-year-old is unbeaten in his last six bouts since losing by majority decision to Alex Martin in January 2020.

The southpaw Zamarripa (13-1, 4 KOs), who resides in nearby Ensenada, defeated Jose Vega Ochoa by majority decision in his last bout on October 21. 

Former world featherweight titleholder Erika Cruz (15-2, 3 KOs) of Mexico City will square off against Melissa Odessa Parker (6-1, 2 KOs) of Spring, Texas in a 10-round bout.

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 at [email protected]