Khalid Yafai and Jonathan Rodriguez will contest the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight intercontinental belt this Saturday at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.
Yafai, a former world super flyweight champion, returned to boxing last year after a long absence and has been regaining his rhythm to return to the United States on a big night.
The Brit lost the 2020 world title to Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez by a nine round technical knockout. After that he took a long break and did not return until November 2022, when he defeated Jerald Paclar by unanimous decision in Abu Dhabi. Now he will attempt to become a regional champion of the pioneering body and start looking for a path to another world title shot down the road.
Rodriguez, from Puerto Rico, is a 24-year-old fighter who is in a great moment and the opportunity he is presented with is quite interesting. The Puerto Rican knows that beating a former world champion could be the ticket to popularity and he intends to get this win.
The Rio Piedras native will be going into his first 10-round fight and must adapt in this fight. He has not lost since 2020 and that gives him confidence to face this challenge, which is the most important of his professional career so far.
Yafai has a record of 27 wins, 1 loss and 15 knockouts, while Rodriguez has 16 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw and 6 knockouts.