Philadelphia, PA—Undefeated junior welterweight prospect Julian Rodriguez, of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, ends a 10-month layoff when he takes on hard-hitting Dario Ferman, of El Paso, TX, in a scheduled six-round contest Friday evening, Sept. 8, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.
Topping the 10-bout card is an eight-round junior lightweight contest between Avery Sparrow, of Philadelphia, and former four-time Canadian national amateur champion Joey Laviolette, of Nova Scotia, Canada. First fight begins at 7.30 p.m.
Rodriguez, 22, known as “Hammer Hands,” was a decorated amateur, claiming a record of 221 victories in 230 fights. Among his amateur awards at 141 pounds: 2013 National Golden Gloves Championship; 2012 National PAL Championship; 2012 U.S. National Championship.
As a pro, Rodriguez is 15-0, 10 K0s, but he has not boxed since last Nov. 18 in Kissimmee, FL, when he scored two knockdowns on his way to a unanimous eight-round decision over former world-title challenger Jerry Belmontes, of Corpus Christi, TX.
Rodriguez is a member of the Top Rank stable of fighters.
“Training camp has been great and I’m ready to go,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t let the layoff or things beyond my control bother or frustrate me. I worked with Danny Garcia during the winter when he was preparing to fight Keith Thurman.
“There’s a lot of people who have natural speed and natural strength but it’s how you use it. Most of my fights I’ve been going forward, pressing the action because I have the opening. No one has really seen me box and I box really well. I know how to react to certain movements and how to read my opponent well."
Ferman, 33, has won 14 out of 16 fights. He has scored 11 knockouts and been stopped himself twice. He’s an aggressive welterweight who will be coming down to 144 pounds against Rodriguez. At 6-foot-1, he will have a four-inch height advantage.
"As for Ferman, I haven’t seen anything I haven’t seen before,” Rodriguez said. “I enjoyed fighting at the 2300 Arena before. The crowds there are great and they know boxing. I’m looking forward to getting back to work.”
In his only previous contest at the 2300 Arena, Rodriguez stopped Randy Fuentes, of McAllen, TX, in two rounds late in 2014.
In a six-round junior middleweight contest, Alex Sanchez, of Camden, NJ, steps in to replace the injured Roque Zapata against Elijah Vines, of Philadelphia. Zapata, of Culpeper, VA, had to withdraw last week when the middle knuckle on his right hand remained bruised following his June 24 victory over Justin Steave in the loser’s Pittsburgh, PA, backyard.
Sanchez, 34, is 5-7-2, 2 K0s, and has boxed twice in six-round fights at the 2300 Arena. He defeated lefty Robert Sweeney, of Hampton, VA, early in 2015, one month after dropping a decision there to Thomas LaManna, of Millville, NJ.
Vines, who had two fights canceled earlier this year at the last minute, has not let his past disappointments bother him.
“Canceled fights and substitutes are part of the business and I try not to let it bother me,” he said. “I don’t get frustrated; I simply move on. I’m treating this fight as the most important fight of my career. I have to; it’s the only way to get ahead.”
Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Sports & Entertainment is proud to announce the development of “The Real Deal Medical”, an initiative to revolutionize the standard of care for its athletes and all combat sports.
The Real Deal Medical team will consist of ARP-certified physicians from various specialties to provide the fighters with consistent medical care and maintain a medical history that will be able to track any changes in their physical or mental health. Through a partnership with Medical Arts Radiology, the Real Deal Medical will monitor the neurocognitive function of the athletes, as well as pre- and post-bout imaging studies to try to prevent any acute or chronic traumatic brain injuries.
Said boxing legend Holyfield, “The whole reason I got into the promotion game was to be the best and to do right by the fighters. This initiative demonstrates to the boxers and the rest of the world that we not only want what’s best for them during their careers, but we want what’s best for them beyond their careers. I really want to thank our committed doctors and Medical Arts Radiology for their dedication and efforts to improve the sport and protect the fighters."
“I’ve had this vision for quite a while, and seeing it come to fruition is truly a blessing,” stated Eric Bentley, COO of Real Deal Sports & Entertainment. “There is so much good that can be done with this initiative, and I’m very grateful that Evander and Sal Musumeci, our CEO, not only believed in this venture but embraced it. Also, on behalf of Real Deal Sports & Entertainment, we are beyond proud to announce our partnership with Medical Arts Radiology and the vision Dr. Steven Tuzinkiewicz and his partners have to revolutionize the health and safety standards in ringside medicine.”
Continued Bentley, “I’ve had the opportunity to observe the sport from both the promotional and the regulatory side. Many fighters don’t have health coverage and the only time most of them see a doctor is when they fight. Each state has a different roster of physicians, as well as inconsistent medical requirements and standards. There is no way for there to be an efficient way to track each fighters’ history from state-to-state, fight-to-fight, and we’re going to change that. These athletes are risking their lives every time they step in the gym and step in the ring; we owe it to them to make sure they go home to their loved ones and do the best we can to make sure they’re able to live their lives comfortably once their careers are over."
Said Dr. Steven Tuzinkiewicz, CEO of Medical Arts Radiology, “We are excited about our partnership with Real Deal Sports and Entertainment and look forward to contributing to the health of the fighters.”
Unbeaten heavyweight LaRon Mitchell (15-0, 13 KOs) wrapped up his training camp in preparation for the first title defense of his career against Michael Bissett (14-9, 8 KOs) this Friday, Aug. 25, from Omega Products International in Corona, Calif.
The San Francisco-based Mitchell will defend his Jr. NABF heavyweight title in the 8-round "Path to Glory" main event.
Tickets for "Path to Glory" sold out quickly, prompting Thompson Boxing to add an additional section of seating. Those tickets will be available for purchase at the door on the day of the event (this Friday) starting at 6:00 p.m. local time.
Thompson Boxing caught up with Mitchell and asked him about what kind of challenge Bissett may pose, the pressures of defending a title, and the difficulties between managing two careers - one in boxing and the other as an educator.
On Friday night, you'll be defending your Jr. NABF Heavyweight Title for the first time. How do you keep your emotions in check for what will likely be a very tough fight?
"Everything that I've accomplished up to this point is going to help me get a win on Friday. I've been in high pressure fights before so this isn't anything new. I'm really good at just living in the moment and not worrying about any outside noise."
As a heavyweight, you don't face the same diet restrictions associated with making a particular weight. Heavyweights, however, do have a target weight that they'd like to hit. How did that process go for this fight?
"I actually had to put on some weight during training camp. I hit the cardio harder than usual, which caused me to drop down in weight. I was able to put it back on gradually. I'll be good for Friday night.
How did you prepare for Michael Bissett?
"I worked on being involved in a scrappy, nasty fight. Bissett doesn't mind being in that kind of a fight. He likes to set a lot of traps. He doesn't have a problem with holding and making you uncomfortable. He's a blue-collar type of fighter."
When you're not training for a fight, people can find you teaching physical education at St. Elizabeth's (K-8) in Oakland, Calif. For this fight against Bissett, you had the convenience of being on summer vacation. How did that help you in your training?
"It's beautiful because I'm able to get in third workouts whenever I want. It's almost impossible for me to get in a third workout when school is in session. Also, mentally I don't have to worry about anything else but what I'm doing in the ring."
What do you want to see from yourself on Friday night from Omega Products International in Corona, Calif.
"Just continue to get better in every aspect. I want to see better speed and accuracy. I've worked really hard on punch placement and angles. On defense, I can't let him get inside and land the compact body shots."
The second championship fight of the night showcases featherweight Erick Ituarte (17-1-1, 2 KOs) defending his Jr. NABF title against Alberto Torres (10-0-2, 4 KOs) in the co-feature bout (8-rounds).
The featured bout on the undercard pits unbeaten junior welterweights Roberto Meza (8-0, 4 KOs) of Temecula, Calif. and Giovanni Cabrera-Mioletti (8-0, 2 KOs) of Chicago (6-rounds).
Watch the LIVESTREAM: TB Presents: Path to Glory on ThompsonBoxing.com or on the Thompson Boxing Facebook Page beginning at 8:00 p.m. PST / 11:00 p.m. EST.
The "Path to Glory" broadcast team features Beto Duran on play-by-play, with Steve Kim providing expert color commentary.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. local time with the first bout at approximately 8:00 p.m. The Omega Products International is located at 1681 California Ave., Corona, CA 92881 and can be reached at 951-737-7447.
"Path to Glory" is presented by Thompson Boxing Promotions and sponsored by Lucas Oil, in association with Everlast.