INSIDE THE RING: Medina, “Bam” prepare for June fights

More local fighters ready themselves for Showtime and ESPN bouts.

Rick Medina trains in San Antonio ahead of his Showtime fight on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at Houston's Toyota Center. (Mark Mendez, Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – After a pretty quiet first half of the year, June seems to be the month for boxers in San Antonio.

While the focus has mainly been on Mario Barrios’ title defense next weekend, a pair of fighters have also been preparing for their June bouts. Here’s what to look out for.

MEDINA VS. CASTILLO

Lanier alum Rick Medina didn’t let the inactivity many of us felt during the pandemic slow him down. Most boxers couldn’t find any fights to sign up for thanks to COVID-19 shutting down events all over the country.

So Medina took his talents on the road across the border to Mexico.

”I wanted to keep everything up and I didn’t want to get out of it,” said Medina to KSAT 12 Sports Wednesday. “I wanted to stay busy and be ready for when everything cleared up so I can get back into the ring here in Texas.”

Medina fought three times during the pandemic including once this year and returned with victories but even more importantly, he returned with his health.

”People wore masks (at the fights), we had to take our COVID tests before and every fight I came out clean,” explained Medina. “All the protocols were followed but I did think about it all in the back of my head because you never know but thank God I didn’t run into it.”

Medina (9-0, 6 KOs) will face Omar Castillo (6-2, 3 KOs) at the Toyota Center in Houston in an 8-round featherweight contest on Saturday. The Medina vs. Castillo fight is on the undercard of the Showtime Jermall Charlo vs. Juan Macias Montiel WBC middleweight title main event.

“This is the first eight-rounder for both of us; my last fight was a six-rounder and I went the distance,” Medina said. “I’m ready for a ten-rounder but this is my first eight-rounder so I’m pretty excited.”

RODRIGUEZ VS. SOTO

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez is one of the few fighters who fought three times in 2020.

Rodriguez got his first fight in 2020 during late February right before COVID-19 shut the sports world down.

Instead of waiting, “Bam” got the opportunity to fight at the MGM Bubble in Las Vegas, fighting in September and December. He walked out of 2020 with three straight knockout victories, extending his knockout streak to five.

Now, Rodriguez (13-0, 9 KOs) will face Columbia’s Jose Soto (15-0 6 KOs) on Saturday, June 26 in Las Vegas. This fight has been pushed back one week so Soto can have more time to make weight, which has been pushed to 113 lbs.

“Originally this fight was going to be this Saturday but they got my opponent a little late,” Rodriguez explained Thursday afternoon. “When they brought him into Las Vegas he was still heavy so they are going to give him an extra week to cut some weight.”

This will be the first fight of the year for both boxers while Coto will be making his United States debut.

“It feels good to fight again. I was scheduled to fight in March but that fell through,” said Rodriguez. “I was in camp for awhile for that fight too so to finally get an official fight date and an official opponent, I’m happy to be back.”

Rodriguez vs. Coto can be seen live on ESPN+.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 18 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, email dvillanueva@ksat.com


About the Author:

Daniel P. Villanueva has been with KSAT 12 since 2003 and is the producer of our weekly sports show, "Instant Replay." Villanueva is a graduate of St. Mary's University and is a TAPB and Lone Star Emmy award winner.