By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – LeShawn Rodriquez continued the impressive start to his pro career Saturday night on the Sergey Kovalev-Vyacheslav Shabranskyy undercard.
The 24-year-old Rodriquez, a middleweight prospect from Shirley, New York, knocked out Brazil’s Alex Duarte in the third round of a fight scheduled for six rounds.
Rodriquez, a former New York Golden Gloves champion and an alternate on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, improved to 8-0 and produced his seventh knockout. Duarte dropped to 7-3.
Rodriquez knocked down Duarte once apiece in the second and third rounds.
Rodriquez drilled Duarte with a right hand that sent him to his gloves and knees in the third round. He failed to answer Smoger’s count in time and the fight was stopped at 1:48 of the third.
Rodriquez also floored Duarte late in the second round. Duarte answered Smoger’s count, though, and finished that round on his feet.
Earlier on the Kovalev-Shabranskyy undercard, Enriko Gogokhia won a unanimous decision over Jose Abreu in a six-round welterweight bout.
Gogokhia, a former kickboxing champion from the Republic of Georgia, was workmanlike in pounding out a points victory. Abreu proved to be durable throughout their bout, but little else, as the left-handed Gogokhia was often able to land combinations against his taller, slower opponent.
The Dominican Republic’s Abreu (13-3, 8 KOs) lost for the third time in his past four fights. He was stopped in the second round of his previous bout by Spain’s Kerman Lejarraga (24-0, 19 KOs), June 9 in Verona, New York.
In the first fight of the night, Ismael Villarreal made a successful pro debut by soundly defeating Race Sawyer in a four-round junior middleweight match.
Villarreal, of the Bronx, New York, mostly hit Sawyer at will and won each of the three rounds on all three scorecards (40-35, 40-36, 40-36). Sawyer, of West Jordan, Utah, was able to stay on his feet throughout the one-sided bout, but he remains winless (0-5).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.