Home SPORTS Jesse Rodriguez v Sunny Edwards: Predictions from pros and pundits for WBO...

Jesse Rodriguez v Sunny Edwards: Predictions from pros and pundits for WBO title fight

Both flyweight champions are unbeaten in their pro careers
Venue: Desert Diamond Arena, Arizona Date: Saturday, 16 December
Coverage: Radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live from 04:00 GMT on Sunday, 17 December and reaction on BBC Sport website & app.

Sunny Edwards aims to achieve a long-held dream this Saturday in Arizona when he takes on unbeaten world champion Jesse Rodriguez.

The Briton aims to add Rodriguez’s WBO flyweight title to his IBF belt and become a unified champion for the first time as a pro.

Edwards, 27, has campaigned for years for a unification fight and stands with Tyson Fury as the UK’s only two unbeaten male world champions.

But in American ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, Edwards faces one of the most talented fighters on the planet, despite the fact he is only 23.

Can Edwards pull off what would be a massive away win or will Rodriguez continue his steady march towards becoming a pound-for-pound star?

The fight will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live from 04:00 GMT on Sunday, 17 December.

We have asked big names from the world of boxing for their opinions on the big fight.

Retired world champion Barry Jones: “I can see both being knocked down, but I think Bam will definitely knock Edwards down. It’s hard to choose between them, but I may be leaning towards Bam. It’s whoever can adapt will win the fight. You tend to think that would be Edwards because of his movement, but I just think Bam won’t be deterred by anything he does.”

Retired world champion Anthony Crolla: “I’m going for an upset. I think Bam is a brilliant fighter, but it worries me how heavy he blew up between fights. I think Edwards is the last fighter you want to be fighting when you cut loads of weight. It is such a tough one to call, but I’m going Edwards on points with a few shaky moments late on. It is that kind of fight where you wouldn’t be surprised if Bam got to him either.”

Olympic champion Lauren Price: “I am really excited for the fight, Edwards talks a good fight and he can back it up as well. He’s got great feet, he’s a great mover, a great boxer and he has great skill levels. But then you’ve got Bam and he can bang and he can fight. But I am going to go with Edwards winning on points. He’s British and I think a lot people underestimate him. When you are in front of him and he’s twitching and feinting, he’s so hard to face. Everyone says they have got a plan for Sunny until they get in front of him. I think it’ll be a very good fight, but I’m backing Edwards to win it on points.”

British heavyweight Johnny Fisher: “Sunny Edwards points decision. He’s got to be careful of Bam’s power, but with his IQ and Grant Smith in his corner I think Edwards will get the victory, backing the Brit all the way.”

Retired super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall: “If Bam hangs back a little bit and uses his jab and boxes at distance, Bam will be a totally different fighter and a much harder fight. If he’s coming forward, getting complacent, I think Sunny Edwards beats him. It’s one of them. If Bam boxes at distance it’s a much tougher night, Sunny can do it but in Arizona it’s a much tougher job.”

Scotland’s first female world champion Hannah Rankin: “Although Bam has proven power, I’m going with Edwards to win this one on points. He’s too disciplined to get involved in a firefight with the more powerful fighter and I anticipate we’re going to see a boxing masterclass from Edwards on fight night.”

British super-featherweight Zelfa Barrett: “I think Edwards will win. I think he will out-box Bam and make Bam desperate to catch him, then Edwards will counter.”

WBO welterweight champion Sandy Ryan: “Sunny Edwards on points. Edwards is different. If you’re a real boxing fan, you would understand his style. His boxing IQ is at another level. Edwards and I have known each other since the Team GB days and he’s a good friend of mine, so I’m going to back him. That said, I do like Bam. He’s got great style and power too. But I just think Edwards’ boxing IQ will shine through on the night and help him win this fight.”

WBA bantamweight champion Nina Hughes: “I think Sunny Edwards will win on points. I believe it will be a close fight but I can see Sunny edging it as he will use his skills and frustrate Bam, making him miss and simply out-boxing him.”

British featherweight Jordan Gill: “Both super talents. I think it’s a highly skilled fight between two of my favourite fighters. My head is saying Bam but my heart is backing the Brit on points.”

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