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Sunny Edwards Edwards loses IBF belt in first pro defeat to Jesse Rodriguez

Sunny Edwards, who was 20-0 and had defended his belt four times successfully, lost the title unification bout to impressive American Jesse Rodriguez; the emergent superstar from San Antonio now becomes the IBF and WBO unified flyweight champion

Sunny Edwards lost his IBF world title
Image: Sunny Edwards lost his IBF world title to impressive American Jesse Rodriguez

Sunny Edwards fell to his first professional defeat as he was beaten by Jesse Rodriguez at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

The 27-year-old, who had a perfect 20-0 record heading into the ring for his American debut, was stopped late on as Rodriguez claimed the IBF and WBO unified flyweight belts.

The fight was stopped at the end of the ninth round after Rodriguez had dominated proceedings, putting Edwards down for the first time in his career before time was called on the bout.

The American, 23, took his record to 19-0 with the second defence of his WBO crown.

Edwards had defended his IBF crown four times since winning the title in 2021, but was behind on all three scorecards (89-81, 87-87 and 87-83) before the stoppage.

The Englishman also admitted he could not see out of either eye by the time his corner called an end to the fight.

"I think it was a great fight, but, yeah, the better man won today," said Edwards, who lost the IBF belt he won with a decision over South Africa's Moruti Mthalane in 2021.

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Rodriguez meticulously picked off Edwards before he sent the London fighter tumbling to the canvas, face-first, at the end of Round 9 with a jab to the body followed by an overhand left.

"I brought something out of him tonight that he couldn't handle," said Rodriguez. "He was a lot quicker than I thought; a lot smarter than I thought. I made him want to fight. He got caught.

"I'm just satisfied that I got the win, period. That was my main goal. But during camp, I knew I had what it took to knock him out or stop him and that's what I did, so (that) just made the win that much better."

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