Leshawn Rodriguez fighting out of Veteran's Memorial scores a victory...

Leshawn Rodriguez fighting out of Veteran's Memorial scores a victory over Tyron James at 152 pounds during the second day of the Long Island Amateur Boxing Championship and charities tournament at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn. (Aug. 14, 2011) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Lessons can be learned every day in the boxing ring, especially at the amateur level.

And it took LeShawn Rodriguez only a short time to realize it Sunday night at the sixth annual Long Island Amateur Boxing Championships and Charities tournament at Gleason's Gym.

Rodriguez used the first moments of his 152-pound, three-round open semifinal bout to feel out Elmont's Tyrone James. After a relatively inactive first round, Rodriguez made several in-fight adjustments to deal with James' superior height and reach.

Using the first round to measure up James proved to be a sound strategy for the Mastic resident, who came away with the decision.

"I just warmed up in the first round, but in the second round, I started getting busy," Rodriguez said. "I had to try and make it into a brawl because he's tall and his arms are longer than mine. I tried to get inside on him."

But working inside hasn't been the norm for Rodriguez, who typically stays on the outside to make use of his jab. "I do it sometimes with some of my sparring partners, but not a whole lot," Rodriguez said of working inside.

Rodriguez, 18, who fights out of Veteran's Memorial Boxing Club in Shirley under the tutelage of Mike Murphy, credits the Long Island tourney for bringing out the best in him.

"Tournaments like this teach you how to adjust to different fighters, because you never know what kind of fighter you're getting in the ring with," Rodriguez said.

Murphy was proud of the performance. "He's no joke," Murphy said. "He was a little tight early, but he picked it up late."

Rodriguez, who advanced to next Sunday's final, has set the bar high for himself and has big dreams for his career.

"I didn't just enter this tournament for the experience," Rodriguez said. "If you win, you go to the Dominican Republic for an international tournament."

Aside from learning how to make adjustments on the fly, Rodriguez said he understands now that to be successful, a boxer has to stay active and put forth a maximum effort when training.

Rodriguez, who fought in the Golden Gloves in April and the Last Chance Olympic qualifier tournament in Cincinnati last month, has stayed busy. "You can't take breaks if you want to make any noise in boxing," he said.

It took a while for him to bear down and stay focused, though.

"I just recently got serious at the Golden Gloves," Rodriguez said. But not before he lost in the semifinals.

Lesson learned?

Said Rodriguez: "I learned to stay in shape and focused after that, because I stopped doing stuff I usually do because I was winning so easy."

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