“Hammer Hands” Rodriguez returns Sept 8

Undefeated junior welterweight prospect Julian Rodriguez, of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, ends a 10-month layoff when he takes on hard-hitting Dario Ferman, of El Paso, TX, in a scheduled six-round contest Friday evening, Sept. 8, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Rodriguez, 22, known as “Hammer Hands,” was a decorated amateur. As a pro, He is 15-0, 10 K0s, but he has not boxed since last Nov. 18 in Kissimmee, FL, when he scored two knockdowns on his way to a unanimous eight-round decision over former world-title challenger Jerry Belmontes.

Rodriguez is a member of the Top Rank stable of fighters.

“Training camp has been great and I’m ready to go,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t let the layoff or things beyond my control bother or frustrate me. I worked with Danny Garcia during the winter when he was preparing to fight Keith Thurman.

“There’s a lot of people who have natural speed and natural strength but it’s how you use it. Most of my fights I’ve been going forward, pressing the action because I have the opening. No one has really seen me box and I box really well. I know how to react to certain movements and how to read my opponent well.”

Ferman, 33, has won 14 out of 16 fights. He has scored 11 knockouts and been stopped himself twice. He’s an aggressive welterweight who will be coming down to 144 pounds against Rodriguez. At 6-foot-1, he will have a four-inch height advantage.

“As for Ferman, I haven’t seen anything I haven’t seen before,” Rodriguez said. “I enjoyeded fighting at the 2300 Arena before. The crowds there are great and they know boxing. I’m looking forward to getting back to work.”

In his only previous contest at the 2300 Arena, Rodriguez stopped Randy Fuentes, of McAllen, TX, in two rounds late in 2014.

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In a six-round junior middleweight contest, Alex Sanchez, of Camden, NJ, steps in to replace the injured Roque Zapata against Elijah Vines, of Philadelphia. Zapata, of Culpeper, VA, had to withdraw last week when the middle knuckle on his right hand remained bruised following his June 24 victory over Justin Steave in the loser’s Pittsburgh, PA, backyard.

Sanchez, 34, is 5-7-2, 2 K0s, and has boxed twice in six-round fights at the 2300 Arena. He defeated lefty Robert Sweeney, of Hampton, VA, early in 2015, one month after dropping a decision there to Thomas LaManna, of Millville, NJ.

Vines, who had two fights canceled earlier this year at the last minute, has not let his past disappointments bother him.

“Canceled fights and substitutes are part of the business and I try not to let it bother me,” he said. “I don’t get frustrated; I simply move on. I’m treating this fight as the most important fight of my career. I have to; it’s the only way to get ahead.”

Topping the 10-bout card is an eight-round junior lightweight contest between Avery Sparrow, of Philadelphia, and former four-time Canadian national amateur champion Joey Laviolette, of Nova Scotia, Canada. First fight begins at 7.30 p.m.

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