Ashton Sylve is anxious to prove the hype his promoter has generated since Jake Paul’s company signed the undefeated lightweight this past spring.
The 18-year-old Sylve has a perfect professional record (7-0, 7 KOs), but the Long Beach, California native will take a step up in competition on the Paul-Anderson Silva undercard Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona. Sylve is scheduled to meet the Dominican Republic’s Braulio Rodriguez (20-4, 17 KOs) in an eight-round co-feature Showtime will distribute as part of a five-fight pay-per-view telecast from Desert Diamond Arena (9 p.m. ET; $59.99).
Ivan Sylve, Ashton’s father and trainer, wants his son to display to the boxing world what he has long seen in the gym.
“Ashton’s skills and poise set him apart,” Ivan Sylve said after a recent workout in Long Beach. “He’s not like any other young fighter. He takes his time and does not rush for a knockout – he lets it come. We know what he can do, and his performance on October 29 will prove that to the world. He will answer everyone’s unanswered questions on the world stage.”
The 34-year-old Rodriguez has fought only once since former WBC interim lightweight champ Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) knocked him out in the fifth round of their December 2018 bout at Madison Square Garden in New York. Rodriguez, though inactive in recent years, can punch, has three times more professional experience than Sylve and has lost only to undefeated fighters in Garcia (then 16-0), Christopher Diaz (then 22-0), Alberto Mercado (then 12-0-1) and Carlos Diaz (then 13-0).
“I’ve been stepping up the competition since I started boxing,” Ashton Sylve said. “I started at 16 [as a pro], so that was a big step right there. This fight is keeping me on the right track. I feel like we found our preferred opponent, so that will keep me moving in the right direction.”
None of Sylve’s past four fights have lasted past the second round. He hasn’t boxed beyond the fourth round as a pro, either.
“I’ve been training to fight 12 rounds since I started boxing, so it’s nothing new,” said Ashton Sylve, who has trained at Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas. “I’m just gaining awareness of certain tendencies my opponent has and that’s the main thing we’re preparing for.”
Sylve was supposed to box on the Paul-Hasim Rahman Jr. undercard August 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York. He had to wait almost three more months to compete on Paul’s undercard because Rahman’s refusal to fight at their contracted catch weight of 205 pounds caused the cancellation of the entire event.
“It feels great to fight on the same card as Jake Paul,” Ashton Sylve said. “I finally get to showcase my skills on a big platform, in front of everyone. I plan to continue my winning streak, hopefully by knockout. I feel like Rodriguez doesn’t have the same conditioning as me. I’m cut from a different breed.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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