Undefeated super middleweight contender Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez is ready, willing and able to replace No. 1 contender Anthony Dirrell, who was recently injured in a motorcycle accident, and fight No. 2 rated Nikola Sjekloca for the vacant World Boxing Council (“WBC”) 168-pound title.
Sjekloca and Dirrell, who is out of action for a reported six months, were ordered to fight for the WBC title, after Andre Ward was declared “Champion in Recess.”
“This is why I signed with Lou DiBella,” Rodriguez said from Andy Lee’s training camp where he is sparring with the Irish middleweight contender. “It’s my time and I’m ready to replace Dirrell against Sjekloca. If anybody can get this opportunity for me it’s Lou.”
The 27-year-old Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), a native of the Dominican Republic who lives in Worcester (MA), has been showcased on HBO, three times on ShoBox, and featured twice on ESPN. In his last five fights, he has beaten opponents with a combined record of 83-7-2, including three world-rated fighters (Don George, Aaron Pryor, Jr. and James McGirt), as well as unbeaten National amateur champion Will Rosinsky).
“We’re ready for the best but it looks like Ward’s moving up in weight and (Lucian) Bute’s tied-up with (Carl) Froch,” Rodriguez’ manager Larry Army noted. “Right now, though, Edwin has earned a world title shot and we’re confident he’s ready to fight and beat Sjekloca.”
Sjekloca (24-0, 7 KOs), a 33-year-old Serbian who lives in Montenegro, is the reigning WBC International super middleweight champion. However, he has fought only once outside of Montenegro and Serbia, in 2010 against 8-24 Artem Vychkin in a win by six-round decision. The lone opponent of note Sjekloca has fought is four-time world title challenger and former European champion, Khoren Gevor, who lost a close 12-round decision to Sjekloca last year.
Rodriguez, who cracked The Ring Magazine world ratings last week at No. 10, is ranked No. 3 International Boxing Federation (“IBF”), No. 5 by the WBC, #8 World Boxing Association (“WBA”) and #13 World Boxing Organization (“WBO”).