Undefeated prospect Edwin Rodriguez challenged Kevin Engel in a battle of Super Middleweight prospects in Chicago as part of a SHOBOX, The Next Generation. In the opening minutes, Rodriguez shot his jab against the taller Engel and backing Engel up. In the middle of the round, a vicious Rodriguez right hand body shot slowed Engel down, forcing Engel to cover up and this body shot was followed up with left hooks to the body. Rodriguez dominated the first round easily.
The opening minutes of the second round, Rodriguez threw quick combinations with body shots followed by head shots. Rodriguez won the second round with his superior quickness as Engel failed to get his own offensive off the track.
In the third round, Engel nailed Rodriguez with a left hook that shook Rodriguez and forced Rodriguez hands up in a defensive posture. At the halfway mark, Rodriguez fired off quick combinations and Engel missed with his own counter. Engel connected on another right but he paid a price as Rodriguez connected with quick combinations that ended up with a right to end the round.
In the fourth round, Rodriguez came out smoking as he threw successive combinations that swelled Engel nose and blood flowed from Engel nose but Engel managed to connect on a right hand for his best punch of the fight halfway through the round
As the fifth round began, Engel was far behind on the card and continued to move forward, only to be met by quick combinations. Rodriguez only mistake was that he kept his left hand low and after a jab, his left came back to his side and Engel managed to shoot some rights over that low left but Engel did not throw enough punches to make a significant impact.
In the sixth round, Engel showed the effect of being consistently hit as his output slowed and with forty seconds left in the sixth round, Rodriguez placed a perfect right hand to the body that sent Engel down. Engel could not get up in time and Edwin Rodriguez won his fifteenth straight victory.
Another undefeated prospect Dan George faced Ghanaian fighter Osumanu Adama in a bout featuring two more Super Middleweight prospect. In a spirited fight, Adama had his moment as he pushed George to the limit but in the third round, George right sent Adama reeling back into the rope. Adama continued to threw punches as both fighters fought at fast pace.
In the fifth round, George came out and landed some hard shots which forced Adama to retreat as George started to take momentum back from his Ghanaian opponent. After losing most of the round, Adama concluded with a solid right that spun George head around.
In the sixth round, both fighters had their moments but Adama had the advantage with punch output but George connected with some solid body shots. In between rounds, Adama corner threaten to stop the fight as part of motivation tactics and the corner reminded their charge that they would not win a decision in George’s hometown. It didn’t help that a George’s right hand put Adama down with less than 20 seconds in the eighth round. Adama managed to get up but now he now had to figure that he needed a knockout.
At the beginning of the ninth round, Adama switched southpaw and hit George with a straight left, forcing George to back up to the Rope. George looked tired as Adama continued to press the action. George won the decision and George was lucky that he faced a fighter with less power and this lack of punch was decisive. George defeated a good fighter but Adama could not match George in the power department.
Marcus Johnson faced another undefeated fighter in Derek Edwards to conclude the Super Middleweight prospect card. Johnson began the fight with effective jab as Edwards played defense in the opening moments but as the round move on, Edwards gained some momentum with slick counter combinations. The second round was another close one with Johnson gaining the advantage as both fighters fought a measured fight while preserving their endurance for later in the fight.
Johnson pressured Edwards in the third and fourth round as Edwards played hide and seek as he moved his shoulder for defensive posture while occasionally countering. In the fifth round, Johnson pushed Edwards with methodical style and he continued this through the sixth as Edwards threw less and less punches. Edwards waited for his perfect moment to counter but as he waited, Johnson scored.
Going into the eighth round, the fight lacked the drama or the pace of the earlier fights on the card as Johnson pressure hardly fazed Edwards but Edwards failed to counter effectively as the fight progressed.
Going into the final round, Edwards looked fresh but he was well behind on the scorecard, so a knockout was needed. Edwards, with only 13 knockouts in 25 fights, did not have the knockout punch to end the fight with one shot. Edwards switched to southpaw and immediately took two right hands at the opening of the twelfth round. Edwards did not punch enough to win the fight and Johnson took the decision but was not impressive. Unlike the other fights, this fight pace began with methodical pace but as the fight progressed, it simply slowed to a pedestrian pace.
As for Nick Charles, SHOBOX long time announcer, he announced that his cancer returned and he would be taking another break from boxing to fight this disease. May God be with Charles.