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Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Main Events signs pair

By Dan Rafael

Heavyweight David Rodriguez and light heavyweight Ilshat "The Sheriff" Khusnulgatin have both signed promotional contracts with Main Events, the company announced.

Rodriguez (36-0, 34 KOs), 36, of El Paso, Texas, is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds and has built a tremendous record, although he has faced extremely weak opposition. Rodriguez has not fought since late 2011 because he was attacked and stabbed in the face outside a Scottsdale, Ariz., pizza restaurant on Dec. 30, 2011.

Rodriguez is lucky to be alive. He needed 369 stitches to close his wounds and nearly had his jugular vein cut. He has a large scar that runs down the side of his face, from his ear to his chin. He has recovered from the stabbing but missed more time when he suffered a knee injury getting ready for a fight in the summer of 2012.

“Through God, I was given a second chance at life, and through Main Events, I was given a second chance at a career,” Rodriguez said. “I'm deeply humbled and grateful for the opportunity. I finally feel like I'm in good hands and the sky is the limit.”

Rodriguez, who is with adviser Luis DeCubas Jr. and manager Rick Pineda, is scheduled to fight on Main Events’ Dec. 14 undercard, but not in a televised bout.

"David has made it clear that his intention is to step up in 2014 and take on everyone at the top of the heavyweight division,” Main Events promoter Kathy Duva said. “David has the personality, the looks and the punch to be a big star. It will be Main Events' job to give him the opportunities necessary for him to reach his goal of becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.”

Khusnulgatin (11-0, 6 KOs), 23, has fought mainly in his native Russia but has had three fights in the United States.

"These are exciting times in the light heavyweight division and for fighters from Eastern Europe,” Duva said. “Ilshat makes another great addition to our light heavyweight lineup at Main Events. At 23, he is the youngest fighter at Main Events, and we look forward to watching him develop.”

Main Events also promotes light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, who shares manager Egis Klimas with Khusnulgatin. Former world titleholder John David Jackson trains Khusnulgatin.