It’s a superb, world title tripleheader this Saturday night at the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, Texas, and in the bill topper, Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez defends his WBC super flyweight title for the first time against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
DAZN televise Rodriguez vs Rungvisai and Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom Boxing promote.
Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KOs) came from relative obscurity earlier this year, into maximum exposure.
Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, KO43) was due to meet Carlos Cuadras for the vacant WBC belt, but the Thai withdrew with less than a week to go, and in stepped Rodriguez, who had only fought twice at the super flyweight limit previously, and was making a big step up in class to face the Mexican.
The 22-year-old passed the test with flying colours though, as he dropped the experienced former world champion in the third round, on the way to a clear points victory.
He now meets the vastly experienced Rungvisai in a tough first defence. The man from the Far East also came to prominence in a big way, when he caused a massive upset with a majority decision win against Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez in March 2017 to win the WBC title, and he backed that up in a rematch, knocking the Nicaraguan out in four rounds six months later.
A successful defence on the cards against Juan Francisco Estrada followed, but three fights later, the Mexican won a rematch by unanimous decision.
Since that 2019 reverse, the 35-year-old has won three in a row in his homeland, his last a third round retirement win over Ekkawit Songnui in March last year.
Prediction: Rodriguez really came of age in his win over Cuadras, and showed power as well as skill to prevail. He can use that same model here against the veteran Sor Rungvisai, and ‘Bam’ can take a clear points win to defend his belt.
Akhmadaliev defends unified belts
Murodjon Akhmadaliev is fast evolving into a dominant world champion, and the Uzbek defends his WBA ‘supe’ and IBF super bantamweight titles here against Ronny Rios.
Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7 KOs) won the belts in a split decision triumph over Daniel Roman in 2019, and has defended twice, stopping Ryosuke Iwasa in five last April, before widely outscoring Jose Velasquez in November and could set up an undisputed title clash with unified WBC and WBO champion, Stephen Fulton with victory.
Rios (33-3, 16 KOs) has been around the block without ever capturing world title honours. The Californian was outscored by Rey Vargas for the WBC belt in 2017, and was knocked out in six rounds two fights later by Azat Hovhannisyan.
The 32-year-old is on a four-fight winning run since that reverse, his last a wide points win over ten against Oscar Negrete in February.
Prediction: Akhmadaliev can retain with a stoppage just after halfway.
McCaskill puts undisputed crown on the line
There’s also an undisputed title at stake at welterweight, where reigning WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO queen, Jessica McCaskill defends her gold against Mexico’s Alma Ibarra.
McCaskill (11-2, 4 KOs) moved up from her position as world champion at super lightweight to take all the welterweight gold with an upset majority decision win over Cecelia Braekhus in August 2020, and repeated the trick in March last year, this time widely on the cards.
‘CasKILLA’ was last out in November last year, stopping Kandi Wyatt in seven rounds.
Ibarra (10-1, 5 KOs) is unproven, but does hold an eight round win over Wyatt, and is on a four-fight winning run.
Prediction: McCaskill should comfortably retain her belts over the distance.
Raymond Ford (11-0-1, 6 KOs) should retain his WBA Continental Americas featherweight title, and add the IBF North American belt with a win over ten against Richard Medina (13-0, 7 KOs).
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Nikita Ababiy (11-0, 6 KOs) can win his super welterweight contest with Noe Larios Jr (14-1, 6 KOs) before the end of their eight rounds, and at bantamweight, Jesus Martinez (1-0) should take a points win against Keven Monroy (1-2, 1 KO).
Julio Cesar Martinez was set to defend his WBC flyweight world title in a rematch with McWilliams Arroyo, but withdrew on Wednesday through illness, Matchroom announced.