Jonathan Rodriguez vs. Khalid Yafai set for November 18 in LA
Jonathan Rodriguez will face former world titleholder Khalid Yafai on November 18, manager Trifon Petrov confirmed to The Ring Friday morning. The 10-round bout will be the co-feature to the super middleweight clash between unbeaten contender Diego Pacheco and Argentina’s Marcelo Coceres.
Both fights will take place at the YouTube Theater in Los Angeles and will stream live on DAZN.
The clash between Yafai and Rodriguez is a crossroads clash where the winner becomes a legit contender at 118 pounds. Yafai will be considered the favorite, but Petrov believes Rodriguez is up to the task of pulling off an upset victory.
“This is the biggest fight in Jonathan’s career,” Petrov told The Ring. “Fighting a former world champion is never an easy task, but I wholeheartedly believe he is ready to take advantage of the opportunity. A win against Yafai would put Jonathan in a position to challenge for a world title next year. I believe he will shock the world on November 18.”
Rodriguez (16-1-1, 6 knockouts), who is originally from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, last fought on August 4, defeating gatekeeper Marvin Solano by unanimous decision in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he currently resides. In his previous fight on June 3, Rodriguez overcame a knockdown to knock out Brian Cannady in the second round.
The 24-year-old is unbeaten in his last nine bouts since suffering the only loss of his career at the hands of Manuel Flores in September 2020 in a clash of unbeaten prospects.
As he has built momentum from the loss to Flores, Rodriguez eyes a path to becoming a legitimate contender by scoring an impressive win over Yafai.
“I started boxing at the age of 10 with the simple goal of becoming a world champion and this fight will allow me to be one step closer to making my dream a reality,” Rodriguez told The Ring. “I’m ready to take full advantage of the opportunity and, come November 18, I will make the island of Puerto Rico proud.”
Yafai (27-1, 15 KOs), who resides in Birmingham, England, made five successful defenses of the WBA world junior bantamweight title before losing by knockout to Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez in February 2020.
In his only fight since the loss to Gonzalez, the 34-year-old overcame a first round knockdown to defeat Jerald Paclar of the Philippines by unanimous decision on November 5 of last year.
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]