Bam Rodriguez overcomes broken jaw, outpoints Gonzalez to become two-division champion

SAN ANTONIO – Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez is once again a world champion but in a different weight class.

The unbeaten 23-year-old became a two-division world champion by claiming a 12-round unanimous decision over an elusive Cristian Gonzalez.

Scores were 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 for Rodriguez, who claimed the vacant WBO flyweight title in their DAZN-streamed main event Saturday evening at Boeing Center at Tech Port in his hometown.

The latest opportunity came after he vacated his WBC junior bantamweight title to drop down to 112-pounds. Rodriguez won the belt in February 2022 with a win over Carlos Cuadras and made two defenses, an eighth-round TKO victory over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and a 12-round unanimous decision triumph against Israel Gonzalez. His decision came at a cost, though, as he told DAZN's Chris Mannix after the fight that he fought for half the fight with a broken jaw which he reportedly sustained in the sixth round.

In the opening round, Rodriguez pumped out his jab to keep Gonzalez on the back foot.

In round two, Rodriguez connected with a hard left uppercut to the body that forced Gonzalez to take a deep breath once he escaped the corner. With around 20 seconds to go, "Bam" landed a left behind the ear that Gonzalez complained was a rabbit punch. Moments before the bell rung, Rodriguez hurt him to the body.

Rodriguez, who won the WBC junior bantamweight title in February 2022 with a win over Carlos Cuadras and made two defenses, before deciding to move back down to 112-pounds, continued to invest in the body in round two, almost too much. He drilled Gonzalez with a low blow, which briefly caused a null in the action. To boot, referee As they neared the one-minute mark, Gonzalez tried to use the ring and his jab to keep Rodriguez at bay. However, that effort fell short of the mark when Rodriguez connected with a left hand to the liver that forced Gonzalez to reconsider his options.

The fourth round was Ferrari vs. bicycle. Rodriguez was the muscle car as he continued to chase down Gonzalez and land shots against him at will. He mixed up his attack with hard punches to the body and solid right hooks upstairs.

The undefeated Rodriguez (18-0, 11 KOs), whose brother, Joshua, holds a secondary title at 115-pounds, was relentless with his pressure once again to open up round five. Gonzalez, who has never gone 12 rounds, was hurt from a sustained body attack.

In the sixth, Rodriguez fired off successive combinations, lefts to the solar plexus, and to the chin. Although he didn't appear to waste any punches during the round, a left hand from Gonzalez landed flush and reportedly broke Rodriguez's jaw. With 30 seconds left in the frame, Rodriguez backed Gonzalez into the ropes from another slew of body shots. In the waning moments, a clash of heads bothered Gonzalez as he winced in pain.

With around 1:20 remaining in the eighth frame, Gonzalez landed with a couple of jabs, one which snapped Rodriguez' head back. However, the latter came back with a hard left hand. About a minute later, Rodriguez followed Gonzalez to the ropes. They exchanged shots, but Rodriguez landed the harder punch, another stiff left hand that forced Gonzalez to hold.

Rodriguez, who is trained by Robert Garcia, connected with a sharp right hook that froze Gonzalez in his tracks to start the ninth. The rest was more of the same as Rodriguez continued to stalk and pound Gonzalez with an assortment of blows.

Mexico's Gonzalez (15-2, 5 KOs), whose defeat snapped a nine-bout winning streak, resorted to survival in the 10th, while Rodriguez used his jab to try and set up Gonzalez for a big shot. He utilized the jab to mix in some left hands and a pair of body shots, but Gonzalez proceeded to use his lateral movement to keep Rodriguez stalking.

In the closing stages of the 11th, Rodriguez landed a one-two combination right on the button. The crowd booed for much of the frame as they wanted more action.

Rodriguez drilled Gonzalez with a big overhand left with 1:50 remaining in the 12th round of their championship contest. With a minute to go, Gonzalez held onto Rodriguez before the crowd encouraged the latter to finish strong. It ended how much of the fight played out, Rodriguez stalking, and Gonzalez trying not to get knocked out. In the end, Gonzalez made it to the finish line, and Rodriguez became a two-division world champion.

In the chief support bout, Marlon Tapales accomplished lifelong dream. upset Murodjon Akhmadaliev by split decision to win the WBC/IBF junior featherweight world titles.

The Filipino upset previously undefeated/unified world champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev by split decision to win the WBC/IBF junior featherweight titles.

Judge Sergio Caiz and Javier Alvarez turned in a stunning score of 118-110 for Akhmdaliev. However, he was overruled by Jose Roberto Torres, who submitted a tab of 115-113 for the Filipino Tapales. NYFights scored it 116-112 for Tapales.

The all-southpaw title fight struggled to light a spark. The opening round was dismal as both fighters provided little to no offense. The crowd erupted in boos towards the end of the frame and Akhmadaliev landed a left hand in the final moments to end the first on a positive note.

Tapales woke up Akhmadaliev with 2:07 left in the second round. He connected with an uppercut and consecutive straight left hands that knocked him back. With around 47 seconds remaining, Tapales landed a left and a right uppercut that surprised Akhmadaliev.

It was more of the same in round three as Tapales controlled the pace with his jab and hard shots that kept Akhmadaliev tentative in the pocket. The 31-year-old Tapales, known as "Nightmare" connected with an overhand left that 'MJ' didn't see coming.

The fourth round was dictated by the jab and Tapales once again was the captain of the ship. He continously connected with hard jabs from the southpaw stance. With about 30 seconds remaining in the frame, Akhmadaliev landed a hard left cross that Tapales took well.

Akhmadaliev finally broke through in the fifth round when he landed a hard right hand. However, Tapales went back to jabbing Akhmadaliev and drew blood from his nose as the one-sided contest continues.

The sixth stanza was closer, but Tapales landed the harder punches, including a left hand that rocked Akhmadaliev. With around 1:25 left in the action, Akhmadaliev surprised Tapales with a right hand that knocked him back. However, the Filipino went back to jabbing Akhmadaliev from the outside.

Akhmadaliev nailed Tapales with a left hand right out of the gate to open the seventh round. The Uzbeki fighter subsequently turned the tables on his adversary and began to walk down Tapales with the jab. With 1:20 left in the round, Akhmadaliev connected with an overhand right, followed by a low blow, which was missed by the referee. Moments later, Tapales caught Akhmadaliev with a two-punch combination, a straight left hand and a right hook.

At 1:05 of the eighth, Tapales stepped back and countered Akhmadaliev with a straight left hand. In the ninth, Akhmadaliev fought with a sense of urgency and backed Tapales into the ropes with a left-right combination.

Akhmadaliev walked down Tapales in the 10th round with hard left hands down the middle. He continued to back up Tapales and at the end of frame, threw a six-punch combination. However, none of them appeared to land on Tapales, who was evading the attack effectively.

Both fighters immediately exchanged to start the 12th and final round. The action started well for Akhmadaliev, who connected with a shot that nearly dropped Tapales, and followed up with a lead uppercut that led Tapales to release a loud shriek. With around 40 seconds left, Akhmadaliev landed a pair of crisp left hands that backed Tapales into the ropes. He subsequently targeted the body to close out like a champion.

To round out the undercard, 130-pound contender Raymond Ford dropped former world champion Jessie Magdaleno (29-2, 18 KOs) twice, once apiece in rounds four and 11, en route to a 12-round unanimous decision to remain unbeaten.

Junior lightweight contender Thomas Mattice (21-3-1, 16 KOs) scored a controversial 10th-round stoppage over previously unbeaten Ramiro Cesena (16-1-1, 13 KOs).

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