Rodriguez ready to fight again after career-threatening accident
If Sylvester Stallone is looking for inspiration for a seventh Rocky movie, then he may want to head towards Suffolk and talk to Ipswich-based Cuban cruiserweight, Yisan Rodriguez.
Fourteen months after his boxing dreams were shattered in a freak road accident, Rodriguez is back from the brink and back in the ring and set to re-enter the amateur ranks, and potentially the ABA Championships, representing Keith James’ Needham Market Hurstlea ABC, in January.
The Cuban, who hopes to turn professional in April, was well on his way, having won nine out of 10 fights in the unpaid ranks before disaster struck on August 18, 2010.
Rodriguez, who came to Suffolk when he was 12, was cycling home from a training session at Gables Farm Gym in Bramford when he was involved in a collision with a car door, leaving him with a punctured lung and a hole just below his right collarbone.
Boxing was the last thing on his mind as the precocious talent, then 22, gasped for breath and lay prone on the floor, feeling like he was “being kicked by about 10 people”, ahead of what would turn out to be the biggest fight of his life to date.
After a procedure that saw a tube inserted through his ribs to drain the internal bleeding from his lungs, Rodriguez was left in constant agony, with no amount of painkillers able to quell his anguish during the months that followed.
“As I lay there after the accident, my belly was filled with air and there was no walking after that, it sapped all the strength out of me,” recalled Rodriguez, who was helped by a passer-by who kept pressure on the wound until paramedics arrived.
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“It’s unbelievable to have survived that, let alone get back into boxing after 11 months off.
“After eight months, I could still barely sleep because I was in so much pain and the only position I could lie in was on my back with my arms down by my side.
“I am strong-minded and boxing is my destiny but the reality almost kicked in that I might never get in the ring again.”
Rodriguez will now go back into the amateur ranks and hopefully compete in the ABA Championships in the New Year, before turning pro in April, having returned to the gym and trainer Steve Spartacus.
“I am not perfectly fit like I was before as I was extremely fit at the time,” admitted Rodriguez, who has sparred with the likes of European and Olympic champion James DeGale and world-title challenger Darren Barker.
“I may be limited in what I can do in the future.”
He added: “Before, I felt perfect and I was always had ambitions of winning a world championship but now it is a case of how far will I go. I don’t lack any confidence but realistically I am wondering whether or not I will get to that stage before I start having difficulties as a result of the injury. There is still something in there but I am racing against time now and sometimes, in boxing, you do not always get what you deserve.”