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Rob Potter | Democrat

Mike Rodriguez, second from left, takes a timeout from a recent workout session to pose for a photo with IBAM trainer Jesse York, left, friend Kusar Grace, third from left, and IBAM Manager Ed Branch Jr.

IBAM’s Mike Rodriguez wins bout at Daily News Golden Gloves Tournament

By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO — March 12, 2010 — Mike Rodriguez made quite an impression at the recent New York Daily News Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament.
On Feb. 4, the 30-year-old Monticello resident knocked out Paul Getley 1:08 into the third round of their 152-pound bout at Archimedes Academy in the Bronx. Rodriguez used his powerful right hook to KO Getley.
Rodriguez, who was competing in his first Golden Gloves Tournament, was also named the P.C. Richard Boxer of the Night.
Rodriguez, who has been training at the International Boxing Academy of Monticello, Inc. (IBAM) since August 2008, was pleasantly surprised by his victory.
“My strategy was just to jab and keep him off balance,” Rodriguez said. “I threw a lot of right hands. He didn’t back down at all. I wanted to win on points, so I was using a lot of jabs.”
A story and photo about the fight were published in the sports pages of the next day’s issue of the New York Daily News. One of the IBAM trainers cut out the story and photo and taped it to the doorway of the main training room at the IBAM facility on Pleasant Street in Monticello.
Unfortunately for Rodriguez, his second Golden Gloves Tournament bout did not go as well. On Feb. 20 in Brentwood, a community in Suffolk County on Long Island, Rodriguez weighed in for his bout at 157 pounds.
“I had to lose three pounds in a half an hour,” he said. “So I ran 4 to 5 miles and came back to the gym. I lost the weight, but I was so exhausted from all that running that I fought to survive.”
Not surprisingly, Rodriguez lost the three-round fight on points.
“A big loss is better than being disqualified in the Golden Gloves,” he said. “The guy was good. I was totally out of it. But I was able to last the whole three rounds.”
When he knocked out Getley, Rodriguez hurt his wrist. So for the next few weeks, he had to radically change his workout routine.
“I couldn’t do any upper body workouts,” Rodriguez explained. “All I could do was run and sit-ups.”
Despite the injury, Rodriguez never thought about not competing in his second bout.
“No one was going to stop me from fighting in the Golden Gloves,” he said. “It is too important to just give up.”
Rodriguez lived in Middletown and graduated from Middletown High School before moving to Monticello in 1999. Once he heard about IBAM, he knew he had to train at the facility.
“Boxing is the only sport I played,” he said. “I have always been interested in boxing.”
Rodriguez, who is studying visual effects this semester as a full-time student at New York University and will earn a Bachelor’s Degree after completing his last eight credits this summer, had his first amateur fight in March 2009 in Woodstock.
“I lost on points, but I learned a lot from it,” he said.
Rodriguez has also learned a great deal from his trainers at IBAM. Those trainers include Nate Hardy, Jose Jimenez, Jeff Peters and Jesse York.
“Jesse and all of those guys have really helped me,” Rodriguez said. “They give very good advice. They taught me the importance of jabbing. Since that lesson sunk in, I haven’t been getting beat up like that any more.”
Two of Mike Rodriguez’s biggest fans are his parents, Angel and Norma Rodriguez.
“At first, they weren’t that thrilled about it,” Mike Rodriguez said. “But now they are OK with me boxing.”
Rodriguez is looking forward to getting back in the ring.
“I want to have one or two more amateur fights,” he said. “Then I want to turn pro.”
Once he becomes a professional boxer, hopefully later this year, Rodriguez has one goal in mind.
“I have always wanted a [title] belt,” he said.

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