Edwards: The best of me beats everyone
December 14 2023
Flyweight king ready to face Rodriguez in unification blockbuster
Sunny Edwards believes he’s unbeatable when he is at his best – and plans to prove that in his unification battle with Jesse Rodriguez at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night, live worldwide on DAZN.
Edwards (20-0 4 KOs) finally gets the blockbuster showdown that he’s been craving after becoming the IBF champion in April 2021 with a trademark classy win over Moruti Mthalane in London. A pair of successful defenses in Dubai followed in December against Jayson Mama and in March over Muhammad Waseem before victory in defense number three followed in his adopted Sheffield hometown over Felix Alvarado.
It’s a first ever unification bout for both men as WBO king Rodriguez (18-0 11 KOs) returns to the state where he landed his first World title back in February 2022 when he defeated Carlos Cuadras to land the WBC Super-Flyweight strap. The San Antonio star defended that title twice with wins over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Israel Gonzalez before becoming a two-weight champion on home turf in April by seeing off Christian Hernandez.
Fight fans and pundits alike have been salivating over the prospect of these two men finally getting their hands on each other, with a raft of previews pouring over their respective traits and finding it hard to separate them. But for the Briton, there’s no doubt in his mind that he adds a second belt to his waist on Saturday night and says it doesn’t matter who is in the ring, if he’s at his best, there’s only ever going to be one winner.
“I don’t have to overthink it; I know the best of me is capable of beating anyone at this weight and the weights above,” said Edwards. “After I beat Bam, I feel there’s a lot more still to come. That’s the first step, unified champion of the world, it sounds good. Bam has got quick hands, good feet, heavy hands as well. He’s a great fighter, but he’s not been in with me yet.
“I was made for this. I’ve never had anything else; I’ve never done anything else; I’ve never really wanted anything else. I don’t do it for anyone, to make anyone proud. If anything, the compliments and the flattery makes me feel uneasy. Everywhere I’ve gone throughout my life I’ve had people saying nothing but good things about how good I am.
“I feel like my last fight was a kind of pre-season for this one. This fight was always spoken and thought about. I’ve stayed in the gym straight out of that fight in June and I’ve applied myself, so I am genuinely raring to go.
“I like a build-up, but that’s more for the fans than for me, I like them to be excited for the fight. Maybe I’m more of the spiteful one, the outspoken one, the confident one. Whereas he’s a very good fighter but he seems uneasy in public, he isn’t happy in front of the camera, he’s not confident in front of groups of people. If he wasn’t a boxer, you wouldn’t see much of him at all.”
Edwards and Rodriguez clash on a stacked night of action in Arizona, with chief support action provided by the the WBA World Super-Bantamweight title eliminator battle between former champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-1 8 KOs) and #2 ranked Mexican Kevin Gonzalez (26-0-1 13 KOs).
The main event stars unbeaten British World ruler Edwards, and four more Brits cross the pond to end their 2023 in the US. Galal Yafai (5-0 4 KOs) defends his WBC International Flyweight title against Rocco Santomauro (22-2 6 KOs), Peter McGrail (8-0 5 KOs) fights in the States for the first time in the paid ranks, and fights for his first pro title as he takes on Ja’Rico O’Quinn (16-1-1 8 KOs) for the WBA Continental Super-Bantamweight belt. McGrail’s younger brother Joe McGrail (7-0 3 KOs), who fights for the eighth time in the pros against Edgar Ortiz Jr. (8-4-2, 4 KO’s) over six rounds at Featherweight. The fifth Brit to step through the ropes on the night will be rising star Junaid Boston (7-0 6 KOs), with the Rotherham talent tackling unbeaten Detroit man Gordie Russ II (6-0 6 KOs) over eight rounds at Super-Welterweight.
Completing the line-up in Arizona are Californian Arturo Cardenas (11-0-1 7 KOs) who faces Carlos Mujica (8-3 3 KOs) over eight rounds at Super-Bantamweight and Albert Gonzalez (5-0 2 KOs) who takes on Alexis Molina (9-2-1, 5 KO’s) over six rounds at Featherweight.