Jesse Rodriguez bids to become two-weight world champion against Cristian Gonzalez

Former WBC super-flyweight champion Jesse Rodriguez (17-0-0, 11KOs) moves down a division to contest for the vacant WBO flyweight belt against Cristian Gonzalez (15-1-0, 5KOs) on Saturday.

The 23-year-old burst onto the world scene last year when he jumped up two weight divisions and dominated Carlos Cuadras at three weeks’ notice to pickup the WBC belt at 115lbs.

An impressive maiden defence against former champion Sor Srisaket Rungvisai ended with an eighth-round stoppage for San Antonio’s Rodriguez who cemented his place among the sport’s brightest developing talents.

Rodriguez concluded 2022 with a comfortable unanimous decision win against Israel Gonzalez over twelve rounds and now moves down to flyweight where he hopes for similar success.

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Speaking at the fight week press conference, Rodriguez expressed his desire to make history at the Boeing Centre this weekend.

“I’m happy to be back in the ring doing what I love to do. Come Saturday, I have the opportunity to become San Antonio’s first two-division champ so it will make that moment that much more special so, I’m really excited to show up.

Rodriguez is eager to tie up all the belts at 112lbs which paves a clear path for a unification showdown against new Matchroom signing and IBF champion Sunny Edwards in the future.

“I want any champion at 112, let’s unify and give the fans what they want. I’m ready for whoever, step up to the plate and let’s make it happen.”

Both Rodriguez and Gonzalez successfully weighed-in one day out from fight night on Friday.

Gonzalez meanwhile appears in his first world title fight as he harbours his own ambitions of leaving with the WBO belt wrapped tightly around his waist.

Having lost just once in 16 outings, Gonzalez has never fought outside of his native Mexico heading into Saturday night but has won his last two contests in the second and first rounds respectively.

Uzbekistan’s unified super-bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-0-0, 8KOs) also appears on the card against Marlon Tapoles (36-3-0, 19KOs).

Akhmadaliev collected both the IBF and WBA titles from former champion Daniel Roman in 2020 via split-decision and has since made three successful defences, two of which ended inside the distance.

The Philippines’ Tapoles previously held the WBO title down at bantamweight and enters Saturday having won all three of his previous outings by stoppage.

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New Jersey’s Raymond Ford (13-0-1, 7KOs) also faces former super-bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno (29-1-0, 18KOs) over 12 rounds at featherweight.

Uzbekistan middleweight Israil Madrimov (8-0-1, 6KOs) takes on Texas’ Raphael Igbokwe (16-3-0, 7KOs) over ten rounds.

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