Before we meet Euri Cedeno, please be aware that on August 20th, 2022, a pair of Dominican boxers, Hector Garcia and Alberto Puello, won world titles in their respective weight classes. On an island where baseball is the king of sports, the Dominican Republic went from having no current world champions to having two of their fighters win world titles on the same night in the same venue.
Welterweight prospect Euri Cedeno (2-0, 2 KOs) has his mind set on becoming the next boxer to bring home another strap to his native Dominican Republic. The young pugilist turned professional on October 9th, 2022. This Friday, Cedeno will fight his third fight in three months when he faces Julio De Jesus Rodriguez (27-4, 23 KOs), a twelve-year veteran.
In an exclusive interview with NYFights, Euri “El Bazooka” Cedeno talked to us about his career and what we can expect when he squares off against his first formidable opponent, Rodriguez.
The 23-year-old is a native of La Romana, Dominican Republic, where he started boxing when he was only six years old. Boxing was a family affair in the Cedeno household. His younger brother was also a boxer, and both were coached by their father, Aquino Cedeno Severino.
Euri had a natural knack for boxing, and it wasn’t long before the young southpaw was gaining notoriety at local and international tournaments. Everything seemed to be going well for the boxing family until the young southpaw's life turned upside down. “In the middle of my career, my father died. He was my coach. It was hard. I needed him, but he's no longer here,” Euri said.
The Cedeno patriarch's sudden passing left Euri without a father and the only boxing coach he'd ever known. “I was angry, but I didn't let it get me down. I did my part and said, ‘I have to honor his legacy.”
With a renewed focus, determination, and a new coach, Cuban native Armando Hernández, Euri Cedeno would win multiple medals at the Pan American, Central, and Caribbean tournaments. Finally, to culminate his amateur boxing career, Cedeno earned a spot on the Dominican national boxing team and represented his native flag at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“In the Olympics, all the boxers fought at a high level. You must respect every boxer because they all can end the fight with one punch. I also learned many different styles from European and Asian boxers that the Latino boxers don’t use or aren’t exposed to,” said Cedeno of his experience competing at the Olympics.
Feeling that he accomplished all he could as an amateur, Euri Cedeno set his sights on the professional ranks. He made his professional debut on October 9th, 2022, and won his first two outings by knocking his opponents in the first round. The transition to professional boxing has been smooth for the young prospect. “It’s different. I like it much more than amateur boxing. I don’t have to kill myself throwing many punches as I did in the amateurs. Now I can be more calculated and pick my shots,” Cedeno told NYFights.
When asked to describe his style to our readers who may have never seen him fight, Cedeno said, “They can define what type of boxer I am when they see me fight.” Cedeno continued with a more serious tone,” If they see all my fights on YouTube, the majority of the fights I won are by knockout. Out of 100 fights I won, I may have won 10 contests by decision. However, I box very well too. I know how to switch my style to my opponent. I know how to get my opponents to fight my fight.”
In only his third fight as a professional Euri will be fighting a veteran boxer with an eighty-nine percent knockout ratio. I asked him if he felt this opponent was too much too soon so early in his career. “I like that they are throwing me to the wolves, as you referred to because I think I am a wolf. I don't want them to take me too lightly. If I fight the wolves now, I'll be able to shine later against tougher opposition. But boxers are never unbeatable. Because of my experience and boxing, I am confident and know I can dominate him,” said the welterweight prospect to NYFights.
Euri Cedeno is ambitious, and after Friday, he wants to start fighting the kind of fights that will put him on the fastest track to a world title match. “We're already working towards fighting for local and regional titles, hopefully starting in January. We are working on a visa to start working in the United States. My manager is doing an excellent job. It’s time to start grabbing rankings,” said Cedeno.
For Euri Cedeno winning world titles is his only focus. So much so that he believes that he is fighting for titles that already belong to him. “I’m coming for those that have titles. I don’t know if Errol Spence, my idol, will be the champion I have to fight to win a world title. But if it is, with all due respect to him, I’m coming for what belongs to me. Anyone at the 147 pounds, I’m coming for what already belongs to me.”
My Take: Euri “El Bazooka” Cedeno is a good fighter with power in both hands. The southpaw closes in on opponents quickly and knows how to get out of trouble. On Friday night Julio De Jesus Rodriguez will serve as a good test for the young welterweight prospect. Of his twenty-seven victories, Rodriguez has knocked out twenty-four opponents. Additionally, Rodriguez is an awkward fighter who throws wildly in exchanges, and this can be an awkward style for Cedeno to adjust to in the early stanzas of this fight.
However, Rodriguez has been knocked out in three of his four losses. Euri Cedeno stays in shape ready to fight in a moment’s notice.
Additionally, he has sparred with some of the greatest fighters in the Dominican Republic, including world champion Hector Garcia.
With Cedeno's vast amateur pedigree and Olympic experience, he should be able to telegraph Rodriguez’s erratic style and win the fight. Euri is ambitious, charismatic, and driven by a will to represent his country and finish what his father started.