The May 24 edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will feature former Junior Middleweight and Welterweight title challenger Delvin Rodriguez (27-6-3, 15 KOs) and former Welterweight title challenger Freddy “El Riel” Hernandez (30-4, 1 ND, 20 KOs) in the 10-round Junior Middleweight main event. Friday’s show from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., will air live at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 HD, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN. Friday’s card is promoted by Star Boxing.
Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside describing the action for ESPN2 HD, while studio host Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) will be on site presenting all the latest boxing news and highlights. Pablo Viruega and Leopoldo Gonzalez will call this week’s fights ringside for ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates (Friday Night Fights) with Claudia Trejos anchoring the studio on site. Bilingual reporter Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) will present live interviews and reports for both shows.
Connecticut’s Rodriguez, who also doubles as a boxing analyst for ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates, is making his 16th fighting appearance on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Rodriguez has had impressive wins throughout his career, including wins over Mike Arnaoutis (W12), Shamone Alvarez (W12), Oscar Diaz (TKO11) and a 10-round unanimous decision win in a rematch over Pawel Wolak, which led to a Junior Middleweight title shot against defending titlist Austin Trout. Rodriguez’s first match against Wolak–a 10-round draw televised on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights–was named “2011 Fight of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). In his last fight in February, Rodriguez scored a sixth-round TKO win over George Tahdooahnippah.
After the fight, ESPN.com boxing writer Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) wrote: “Rodriguez, with his home-state fans loudly behind him, simply pummeled Tahdooahnippah, who had nothing but heart and a good chin. Rodriguez nearly stopped him late in the second round as he teed off with flush right hands over and over. Rodriguez opened a cut on the bridge of Tahdooahnippah’s nose in the third and continued to pound him relentlessly, round after round. This was a strong performance from Rodriguez against an utterly overmatched but game foe.”
California’s Hernandez, who challenged former titlist Andre Berto for his WBC Welterweight belt in 2010, enters Friday’s fight with wins over former world titlists Luis Callazo (W10), Mike Anchondo (TKO4) and DeMarcus Corley (KO5). Hernandez is looking to get back to his winning ways following a 10-round unanimous decision loss to 2008 Olympian Demetrius Andrade in his last fight in January.
“He (Hernandez) needs to get a ‘W’ now to get some more opportunities, and he’s fighting a guy who’s going to give him that opportunity,” advisor Nigel Burns said. “That’s not a knock on Rodriguez, but Rodriguez is more of a fighter than a boxer. I think it should be a good fight. Rodriguez is a good fighter and has fought some good people, and I expect him to actually stand in the pocket and trade with us.”
Friday’s 10-round co-feature will pit undefeated Junior Welterweight Issouf “Volcano” Kinda (16-0, 6 KOs) against Chris “Hurricane” Howard (15-2-1, 7 KOs). Kinda scored a second-round knockout win over Javier Loya in his last fight, while Howard is coming off an upset third-round TKO win over Bayan Jargal.
Friday Night Fights-Best KOs & Mike Tyson’s Greatest Hits to Air Before Friday’s Show:
ESPN2 and WatchESPN will air the best KOs of Friday Night Fights at 9 p.m. and Mike Tyson’s Greatest Hits at 9:30 p.m. prior to Friday’s live show at 10 p.m.
Follow ESPN’s Friday Night Fights on Twitter @ESPNFNF or like it on Facebook. Follow ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates on Twitter @ESPNBoxeo. Also score the fights round-by-round with the “Live Friday Night Fights Facebook Voting App,” an application on the ESPN FNF Facebook page that allows viewers to score the fight round-by-round.