Rodriguez returns on March 28


Rodriguez returns on March 28

PRESS RELEASE: Two-time national amateur champion Edwin Rodriguez (2-0) of Worcester, Mass., returns to the ring March 28th in a four-round middleweight bout in Salamanca, N.Y., his first with new trainer Peter Manfredo Sr.

The opponent for the 22-year-old Rodriguez is veteran James North (8-19-2) of Weston, W.Va.

This will be Rodriguez’s third fight in just nine weeks. The 6-foot Rodriguez is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Fitzgerald Johnson Feb. 8 in Boston and a first-round knockout of Samuel Ortiz Gomez Jan. 26 in Mansfield, Mass.

Rodriguez won the USA Boxing national championship for 2005 and the Golden Gloves national championship for 2006, both at 165 pounds.

“I’ve had two fights and two knockouts, but they were very different fights,” said Rodriguez. “The first win came quick; the second win I had to work harder for.

“But that’s fine with me,” said Rodriguez. “It was a reminder that nothing good comes easy.”

Rodriguez is especially eager for this first fight under new head trainer Manfredo Sr.

“I’m anxious and excited to show what I’ve learned while working with Peter,” said Rodriguez. “In just a few weeks I’ve learned new things and improved upon the abilities and skills I already have. And this is just the start; I’m learning more every day in the gym and with every fight I have.”

The 33-year-old North, Rodriguez’s opponent on the nationally televised (ESPN2) card at the Seneca Allegheny Casino and Hotel, has a record of 8-19-2 with three knockouts.

“Edwin’s first two opponents had three fights each, and North has almost 30,” said Larry Army Jr., Rodriguez’s manager. “There’s no question Edwin’s getting into deeper water now. But we’re not worried about sinking. Edwin can swim—and fight—quite well. After all, he is the future of the middleweight division.”

“Edwin’s a good learner, a quick study,” said Manfredo Sr. “We wouldn’t be putting him in with someone as experienced as North if we didn’t think Edwin has the tools to succeed.”

Rodriguez, who has lived in Worcester since arriving in the United States from his native Dominican Republic during 1998, considered competing for a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, but the premature birth of twins, Edwin Jr. and Serena Lynn, changed his priorities. Stephanie Rapa, Edwin’s fiancee and mother of the twins, is a graduate of Holy Cross with a degree in political science and has been accepted by the Western New England School of Law.