The road to a world title will not change for Emmanuel "Manny" Rodriguez.
As the boxer himself had been anticipating, his new world title opportunity will not arrive until after the first three months of next year, once the undisputed bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue of Japan will vacate his four 118-pound titles.
Earlier this month, Inoue knocked out Paul Butler (34-2 and 15 KO's) at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo to become the undisputed champion.
He now plans to move up in weight to chase more titles at 122-pounds.
“I already spoke with Inoue's promoter. He is going to vacate the belt soon,” confirmed the promoter Rodriguez, Juan Orengo, in an interview with Giovanny Vega.
Rodriguez is the mandatory challenger for the IBF bantamweight title.
“Manny's next fight should be for the world title. He will be fighting for the vacant belt," Orengo said.
Once Inoue officially leaves the weight class, Rodriguez would likely face Filipino Vicent Astrolabio, who recently knocked out Nikolai Potapov in an IBF eliminator. Astrolabio is riding a solid steak of wins, a shock decision win over Guillermo Rigondeaux and the recent knockout of Potapov.
In May 2018, Rodriguez became world champion by defeating Butler by unanimous decision for the IBF bantamweight title. A year later, he lost the crown to Inoue by knockout.
Rodriguez got back on track with a victory by technical decision on October 15 over unbeaten Gary Antonio Russell, who is the younger brother of former world champion Gary Russell Jr.
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