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© Copyrighted photograph courtesy Wendy Rodriguez

 
   

4'11" junior flyweight Wendy Rodriguez (b. 1 January 1979) is trained by Victor Hernandez at the L.A. Boxing Gym in Los Angeles, California. Wendy's boxing skills and smooth moves in the ring more than compensate for her small size, and she has proven a tricky and frustrating opponent for the best in the world at her weight. 

Wendy had six amateur bouts before turning pro.

On September 6, 1998 in the finals of the open 106-lb division of the Blue and Gold Tournament in Baldwin Park, California, Wendy dropped a 3-2 decision to then national champion Linda Carrillo of South El Monte, California.

Wendy made her pro debut on May 14, 1999 at the Pechanga Center in Temecula, California, taking a clear four-round unanimous decision over Lisa Butler of Leonard, Texas.

On June 4, 1999, again at the Pechanga Center, she defeated Canadian southpaw and national amateur silver medalist Tracey Stevens by a four-round unanimous decision.

On November 14, 1999 at the Convention Center in Sacramento, California, 1999 National Golden Gloves Champion Yvonne Caples (103 lbs) of Berkeley, California won a four round unanimous decision over Wendy (106 lbs) in a private event for a state police officers association. Caples, who won by a 40-36 margin on all three scorecards, moved her pro record to 2-0.

On February 25, 2000 at the Music Hall in Austin, Texas she fought a ten-rounder with Austin's own Anissa Zamarron for the IBA junior flyweight title. This fight was declared a draw so the title remained vacant. Zamarron's record moved to 12-8-1, while Rodriguez had hung tough over a full ten against a tough veteran who has battled Regina Halmich and Jolene Blackshear. Anissa said she was "really shocked" by the decision and felt that she had done everything she needed to win, but we've heard that it was a good fight in which Wendy Rodriguez acquitted herself well against an experienced opponent.

On August 14, 2000 at the Key Club in Hollywood, California, Wendy weighed in at 112 lbs and won a six-round unanimous decision over Nadine Salim (115 lbs) of Palm Springs, California.


Wendy battles Canada's unbeaten Margaret Sidoroff
© Copyrighted photo taken by Sandy Goldberg

On October 28, 2000 at Miccosukee Indian Gaming in Miami, Florida, the IBA Junior Flyweight title went unclaimed when undefeated IFBA/IWBF Flyweight champion Margaret Sidoroff (108 lbs) from Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Wendy (also 108 lbs) fought to a 10-round draw. The scorecards were 95-95, 96-94 Rodriguez, and 96-94 Sidoroff. The smaller Rodriguez countered Sidoroff's size and experience edge by tying her up and backpedalling in the early rounds, then finished strongly in the last three rounds to keep it close. Sidoroff moved her pro record to 8-0-1. Rodriguez was now 3-1-2 and had made a big noise to the women's boxing community by matching her boxing skills to Sidoroff's insuch a close fight.

On March 5, 2001 at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California, a standing room only crowd saw Wendy score a second-round TKO of Long Beach City College student Connie Louis, who was making her pro debut. Louis retired after the second round on the advice of her corner after absorbing a stream of combinations and overhand rights to the head.

On April 26, 2001 at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California, Wendy Rodriguez (112½ lbs) fought Marilyn Salcido (114½ lbs) of Rialto, California to a draw. Salcido moved her record to 2-2-1.

On May 11, 2001 at Quiet Cannon in Montebello, California, Wendy won a four-round decision over Luz Rodriguez of Mexicali, Mexico, who was making her pro debut.

On July 20, 2001 at Crystal Park Casino in Compton, California, Wendy (111 lbs) won a four-round unanimous (40-36,39-37,39-37) decision over Sue Godwin (114 lbs) who fell to 0-2. Godwin started well in the first round but then spent the next three trying to tie Rodriguez up. Laila Ali who was at ringside and rooting for Rodriguez kept screaming "Yeah sister!" whenever Wendy landed good combinations. [Fight report]

On September 27, 2001 at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California, Wendy battled to a six-round majority decision over Luz Rodriguez in a rematch of their May 11 bout. Luz Rodriguez was busier in the opening round but Wendy controlled the rest of the fight with slick combinations and counterpunching. Luz Rodriguez was upset by the decision and said she thought she had done enough to win. Luz Rodriguez fell to 1-2-0 (1 KO).


Wendy fights Delia Gonzalez in Las Vegas
© Copyrighted photo by Mary Ann Owen

On April 27, 2002 in an outdoor ring at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Wendy (110 lbs) advanced to 8-1-3 (1 KO) with a six-round (57-57,58-56,59-55) majority decision over Delia Gonzalez (108½ lbs) of Chamberino, New Mexico, who dropped to 11-7-4 (3 KO). The taller and more experienced Gonzalez tried to keep Rodriguez away with her jab while Rodriguez wanted to work inside to bang the veteran's body. Rodriguez was more successful in the second and third rounds while Gonzalez looked stronger and landed well in the fifth and sixth. Many at ringside were unhappy with the judges' decision for Rodriguez after what was a close technical fight between two very capable boxers.

On July 25, 2002 at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California, Wendy won a six-round unanimous (60-54,59-55,59-55) decision over Yumi Takano of Tokyo, Japan. Rodriguez and Takano both began aggressively with Rodriguez getting the better of brisk exchanges in the opening round. Rodriguez went on to frustrate Takano with her ring skills and lateral movement for the next four rounds, as she has done against quality opponents so often before. Takano landed a few solid shots but took many more in return. Takano tried to pressure Rodriguez hard to rescue the bout in the sixth, but Rodriquez had paced herself well and had enough left to stand in and goe toe to toe with her. Both received a standing ovation at the final bell. Takano dropped to 9-5 in bouts reported to WBP (this may be only a partial record for her, as I haven't heard about other fights since her August 5, 2000 IFBA title fight with Kim Messer).

On March 13, 2003 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, Patricia Martinez (107 lbs) of Miami won a six-round unanimous (58-56,59-55,60-54) decision over Wendy (108½ lbs). Martinez outworked and out-aggressed the durable and elusive Rodriguez on the way to a win that re-establishes her as a legitimate world junior flyweight contender. Martinez advanced to 11-1-0 (4 KO) while Rodriguez fell to 9-2-3 (1 KO).

On May 22, 2003 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, Wendy (105 lbs) won a six-round split (58-56,58-56,56-58) decision over former WIBF European flyweight champion Anastasia Toktaulova (105 lbs) of Moscow, Russia, now fighting out of Las Vegas. Rodriguez was more aggressive and landed well with her right throughout the bout. Toktaulova fell to 9-7 (0 KO) with the loss.

On August 28, 2003 at the Marriott in Irvine, California, Wendy won the vacant IFBA Junior Flyweight title with a ten-round majority (98-92,96-94,95-95) decision in a rematch with Anastasia Toktaulova. Rodriguez's always elusive style was matched by Toktaulova in the early going, making for a defensive bout with relatively little landing. Toktaulova caught Rodriguez with a hard shot in the sixth and both stepped up the pace in the later rounds. Rodriguez was generally more accurate and busier against the taller Russian. Rodriguez said she felt she deserved the win because she had given Toktaulova a "boxing lesson". Rodriguez improved to 11-2-3 (1 KO) with this win while Toktaulova fell to 10-8-0 (1 KO).

On December 18, 2003 at the Marriott in Irvine, California, Wendy stopped Tracey Stevens of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada by TKO at 1:30 in the second round of a scheduled eight-rounder. After a feeling-out round, Rodriguez began to unload on Stevens in the second, following her jab with power shots to Stevens's head and body. Stevens, although an experienced amateur and pro competitor, turned away from Rodriguez after a hard shot to her face and was quickly pinned on the ropes while Rodriguez cut loose with a barrage of solid head and body punches that left Stevens stunned and unable to respond or protect herself against Rodriguez's attack, bringing the referee in to stop the bout. Rodriguez advanced to 12-2-3 (2 KO) while Stevens fell to 5-7-0 (1 KO) with her third straight loss by a second-round stoppage.


Wendy battles Anissa Zamarron for the NABA title in 2004
© Copyrighted photo by J & P Photographers
 - Patricia Butaud and Janis Guidry. 

On May 22, 2004 at Grand Casino Coushatta, in Kinder, Louisiana, Wendy (106 lbs) won a ten-round unanimous (98-92,96-94,97-93) decision over WIBF Strawweight champion Anissa Zamarron (108 lbs) of Austin, Texas for the vacant NABA Junior Flyweight title. Rodriguez was busier and outworked Zamarron, although the action went back and forth in a hard fought bout. Zamarron started well and had Rodriguez looking confused in the opening round but Rodriguez began to find the mark in the second and third rounds with hard short hooks. Rodriguez won the middle rounds with an effective stick and move style, landing effective combinations when she was in close. Zamarron caught Rodriguez against the ropes at times but Wendy finished stronger in the late going. Wendy improved to 13-2-3 (2 KO) with the win while the veteran Zamarron fell to 16-12-2 (5 KO). (See also Photo/MPEG Gallery #170 on the WBAN Records Member Site.)

On August 21, 2004 at the Paragon Casino and Resort in Marksville, Louisiana, Wendy (105 lbs) won a ten-round unanimous (98-92, 97-93,96-94) decision over undefeated Yahaira Martinez (105 lbs) of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico in defense of her NABA Women's Light Flyweight title. Martinez, who is trained by Freddy Trinidad, fell to 5-1 (3 KO's). Rodriguez improved to 14-2-3. (See also Photo Gallery #195 and MPEG Gallery #196 on the WBAN Records Member Site.)

On November 5, 2004 the IFBA announced that they had vacated the Junior Flyweight title held by Wendy for failure to defend.

On March 12, 2005 at the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, Louisiana
Wendy retained her NABAW Junior Flyweight world title with a ten-round unanimous (99-91,99-91,99-91) decision over Anissa Zamarron of Austin, Texas. Rodriguez consistenty beat Zamarron to the punch and landed heavy right counters for which Zamarron had no answer. Rodriguez had Zamarron in trouble in the fifth with a series of solid rights to the head, then delivered a hard right to her nose and a rugged right-left combination with Zamarron against the ropes. "My plan was to go in and rush her," Rodriguez said. "Once I got pressure on her, she couldn't do anything." Zamarron ended the bout red-faced and bruised while Rodriguez was apparently fresh and unmarked. Rodriguez improved her record to 15-2-3 (2 KO) with the win while Zamarron fell to 16-14-2 (5 KO).

On October 8, 2005 in an outdoor amphitheater at Harrah's in Laughlin, Nevada, Wendy (105 lbs)  won an eight-round unanimous (80-72,77-75,79-73) decision over Yvonne Caples (105 lbs) of Berkeley, California in the Main Event.  There were no knockdowns.


Wendy battles Carina Moreno
© Copyrighted photograph taken by J & P Photographers

On January 21, 2006 at Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, Louisiana Wendy (105¾ lbs) won by a split decision over Carina Moreno (108¼ lbs) of Watsonville, California  after the scheduled ten-rounder ended in the sixth due to an accidental head butt that Rodriguez had received.  Rodriguez had trouble with Moreno's reach advantage in this fight, as she had to work her way in past Moreno's strong jab. After several close rounds, Rodriguez found the way inside in the fourth and was able to back Moreno up with a strong body attack, but Moreno came back well in the fifth.  After Rodriguez suffered a deep cut over her right eye, the fight was halted and went to the scorecards where the tally was 58-56 for Moreno, and 59-55, 58-56 for Rodriguez.  Wendy won the IBA Junior Flyweight title with this decision, and improved her record to 17-2-3 (2 KO's) while Moreno suffered her first pro loss and fell to 8-1-0 (3 KO's). For more photos and video of this bout by J & P Photography, see WBAN Photo Gallery #319 on the WBAN Records Member Site. Also see Photo gallery #321 by Alan Messick Photography.

On March 15, 2007 at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri, Hollie Dunaway (107 lbs) of St.Louis, Missouri won an eight-round unanimous (80-72,80-72,79-73) decision over Wendy (105½ lbs). (For photos of this fight by Jim Compton, see Photo Gallery #417 on the WBAN Records Member Site).  The 22-year old Dunaway improved to 19-4-0 (10 KOs) with one of her most impressive wins, while dropping Rodriguez to 17-3-3 (2 KOs).

On July 28, 2007 at Burg-Wächter-Castello in Dusseldorf, Germany, Regina Halmich of Germany retained her WIBF Flyweight title with a 10-round unanimous (98-93, 98 93, 96-95.) decision over Wendy.  Rodriguez fell to 18-4-3 (3 KOs) while Halmich progressed to 53-1-1 (16 KOs).


Wendy battles Hollie Dunaway in June 2008
© Copyrighted photo by Lori Steinhorst

On June 13, 2008 at the Isleta Casino and Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wendy (101 lbs) won a close and controversial ten-round split (96-94,98-92,94-96) decision over Hollie Dunaway (104 lbs) of St.Louis for the vacant IFBA and IBA strawweight world titles.   Dunaway slipped to 21-7-0 (10 KOs) while Rodriguez improved to 19-4-3 (3 KOs).

Wendy was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, majored in Child Development at Cal. State L.A. and plans to become a teacher. Before she began boxing, she participated in Cross Country/Field and Dance at Roosevelt High School.

Wendy told me that she never liked boxing until she started boxing herself. "It was always a guy thing for me", she says "and that was because I had never seen women boxing. When I first got involved with boxing, I wanted a self defense class, and I wanted to lose weight. As time went by, I began to like its technique. It was something different for me ... now I see boxing in a whole new way."

Her training starts at 5.30 in the morning with a 35-minute run. After that, she does a couple of sprints. She's in the gym training from one-and-a-half to two hours, five days a week (six when she knows she has a fight coming, taking her Sundays off).

"It takes a lot of time and commitment when someone becomes a pro boxer", says Wendy. "I put a lot of dedication to the sport, because it is something that I like to do, and because my dream is to one day become a world champion."

"It is about time that I got more knockouts on my record", she says, adding that she began as a brawler when she started boxing, but now "I have more technique, which makes me a smarter fighter. I definitely want rematches against the fighters that beat me. Even the fighters that I have draws against."

Wendy can be contacted through her manager Marcus Kowal at marcusk@kravmaga.com or by email at wenwen_box@yahoo.com.

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