/Juan Francisco Estrada gatecrashes the pound-for-pound list

Juan Francisco Estrada gatecrashes the pound-for-pound list

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JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA put himself firmly in the pound-for-pound reckoning by overcoming Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on a close unanimous decision at the Forum in Inglewood, California on Friday night (April 26).

The super-flyweight rivals had first faced off in February last year, when two-time champ Srisaket came out on top via majority verdict in an entertaining clash to retain his WBC title. The coveted green belt is now Estrada’s, however, after the three judges all voted in his favour in the rematch (116-112 and 115-113 twice).

Once again, the bout did not disappoint. Frequent eye-catching exchanges were on show, as the two top-class little men went hell for leather. In the end, it was an unsuccessful tactical tweak from Srisaket that ultimately decided the fight. Instead of boxing out of his usual southpaw stance, the Thai chose to operate predominantly as an orthodox fighter during the contest. After his initial surprise at Srisaket’s approach, Estrada got to grips with his opponent’s style and boxed effectively from range, often getting his punches off quicker.

Former unified light-flyweight titlist Estrada had to demonstrate a solid chin at times, yet overall, the Mexican seemed to have the final say in most of the trade-offs. Srisaket came on strong in the final third of proceedings, determined to keep hold of his crown, but Estrada regrouped and put in a pivotal, match-winning performance in the concluding round.

The co-feature served up another exciting tussle, as Los Angeles’ WBA super-bantamweight boss Daniel Roman added TJ Doheny’s IBF strap to his collection by outpointing the gritty Australia-based Irishman on a competitive majority decision (116-110 twice and 113-113).

The previously unbeaten Doheny gave it everything he had, but Roman’s extra dollop of class swayed the matchup his way. Doheny was down twice from left hooks – in the second and 11th – but did have Roman reeling in the seventh after connecting with a solid left of his own. Following this, Roman chose to largely concentrate his attacks on the body, with these energy-sapping shots taking their toll down the stretch on the portsided Doheny.

Just like Estrada did after defeating Srisaket, Roman called out the fellow champions in his division in the aftermath of his victory.

Also on the bill, ex-WBO welterweight belt-holder Jessie Vargas came through a back-and-forth scrap with former WBC super-feather/lightweight king Humberto Soto. Vargas, of Las Vegas, suffered a nasty gash over his left eye in the second, but displayed commendable resolve to fight through this and force the stoppage at 1-48 in round six. A heavy right decked Soto in this session, before a follow-up barrage had the Mexican veteran in further trouble, leading the referee to intervene.