Earlier today saw the official weigh for tomorrow's Flyweight title bout between reigning WBA "super" and WBO Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22) and heavy handed Filipino challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20).
At the weight the champion was bang on the Flyweight limit at 112lbs though looked incredible and left us wondering how he still manages to make the weight given his huge body. The challenger on the other hand was notably inside the limit at a little under 111¾lbs. Whilst the champion looked incredible with a huge upper body it was actually the challengers shoulders that seemed to be eye catching and they looked huge for a Flyweight.
Unfortunately for Asenjo his shoulders were the biggest positive that he had at the weigh in. Overall Estrada looked significantly taller, longer, more muscular, and in fact it looks like there is one, if not two, weight classes between the men.
Although Asenjo has power he is really up against it here against one of the best young fighters on the planet.
(Image courtesy of notfight.com)
In Mexico on Thursday the press were given an opportunity to see WBA "super" and WBO Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22) and his Filipino challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20) go face to face at the final press conference for their bout this coming Saturday.
At the event Estrada, an exceptional boxer-puncher with all the tools a fighter could ask for, appeared to tower over the diminutive challenger. We can't say it was that unexpected, considering that Estrada is a big Flyweight and Asenjo is a man who first broke through at Minimumweight, but it was certainly more striking than we had anticipated.
Part of the reason we hadn't anticipated such a stark difference in size was the numbers we'd been given. We had been told that Estrada was 5'4" and that Asenjo was 5'2". Going on the evidence from the press conference there is at least 3" if not 4" between the two men.
The weigh in for the fight will take place later today and we have to assume that the size difference between the two will be even more marked when they stand on the scales. By fight night we're expecting Estrada to have a sizable "functional" weight advantage over Asenjo, who is a huge under-dog for the fight.
Rommel Asenjo goes up against Flyweight kingpin Estrada (Preview)
Rommel Asenjo to get world title shot on March 28th
(Image courtesy of Zanfer Promotions)
Over the weekend it was announced that Filipino fighter Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20) was to get his second world title shot on March 28th as he has been signed up to fight WBA "Super" and WBO Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22).
This announcement has come after Asenjo's compatriot, Froilan Saludar, had to turn the bout down due to lack of preparation time and although the notice is short for Asenjo it's seen as being fine for the fighter, who is a natural Light Flyweight, and is actually going up in weight.
Asenjo will be having his second world title shot after having previously come up short against Raul Garcia in a WBO Minimumweight title fight back in April 2011. In that bout Asenjo was stopped in the 3rd round by Garcia and we're unfortunately expecting something similar here given the short notice and natural size difference, after all Estrada is a big Flyweight and Asenjo is a small Light Flyweight.
Although the 26 year old Filipino is the under-dog he can take heart from the effort put forward by another Filipino, Joebert Alvarez last December with Alvarez really showing up a number of holes in Estrada's game. Sadly however the styles of Alvarez and Asenjo are hugely different and it's unlikely that Asenjo will be able to replicate the performance of his compatriot who really did give Estrada a scare, despite the wide scorecards.
Froilan Saludar not going to ready for Juan Francisco Estrada date
Earlier today in the Filipino press we saw WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) being linked to fights with several Asian fighters for his next defense, scheduled for March 28th, and it was a huge hint that much mooted bout with Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2-1, 11) wouldn't be happening, at least for now. The story, reported by the Sunstar in the Philippines, has come after Nietes long term promoter, and the head of ALA Promotions, Michael Aldeguer, was quoted as saying:
“It’s a voluntary title defense. We are looking at someone from Asia. Maybe a Japanese ranked fighter as boxing in Japan recently is doing well. Donnie has been fighting a lot of Mexican fighters already so maybe this time an opponent from Asia as boxing has become more popular because of China,”
Whilst the quote is a little bit confusing in that it hints to China and Japan it does leave us with a very interesting selection fighters, as per the most recent WBO rankings.
Ideally the best choice would be Thailand's Paipharob Kokietgym (27-0, 20) who is currently ranked #2 and has, apparently, had his team make contact with Nietes. This is a fight that we really do like the look of though suspect ALA wouldn't be fans of given that Paipharob is unbeaten, heavy handed and not the type of guy that fighters want to fight unless they have to. It would however be a compelling contest and one that makes sense if Nietes is wanting to prove himself.
Paipharob isn't the only Thai ranked by the WBO but he is the only "realistic" option from Thailand with the unbeaten Petchchorhae Kokietgym (10-0, 7), the WBO #14, being a very unlikely option, especially considering his level of competition so far.
The second highest ranked Asian in the WBO rankings is a Filipino, Jonathan Taconing (20-2-1, 17). Ranked #7 Taconing is one 3 ranked challengers from the Philippines and would make for a sensational opponent for Nietes. Taconing is heavy handed, aggressive and exciting and should make for a compelling bout with Nietes, a much better "boxer". Sadly however this bout looks unlikely with Taconing now expected to go the WBC route and move towards a fight with Pedro Guevara however it is certainly possible for him to go this way and give us an all Filipino bout that would guarantee fireworks.
A second Filipino option would be Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20), ranked #11 by the WBO. Whilst this would look good on paper it's not a bout that would interest us as Asenjo isn't as good as his ranking suggests, and in his only would title fight so far he came up very short, being stopped in 3 by Raul Garcia. On the world scene Asenjo doesn't seem to have it, though he is entertaining and exciting.
The final Filipino option would be the WBO #14 ranked Benezer Alolod (16-5-5, 5), who struggled in December to beat domestic rival Renren Tesorio. Alolod is a more interesting fight than Asenjo and although he was stopped in 9 rounds by Nkosinathi Joyi, he does hold a couple of notable wins including a 7th round technical decision win over Rey Loreto and a 3rd round retirement victory over one time OPBF title contender Jerson Mancio. Those wins however wouldn't make very confident in Mancio being able to be competitive with Nietes.
Going back to Adeguer's statement regarding Japanese and Chinese challengers it's worth noting that both countries have a fighter ranked.
From China we have #9 contender Ma Yi Ming (12-5, 7) who has one of those confusing records. Ming began his career in 2007 and quickly fell to 3-5, including a trio of stoppage losses in his first 3 bouts. Since then however he has scored 7 straight wins, including a notable one this past December against Tommy Seran. Although he is "streaking", so to speak, he has been fighting at a low level and his ranking has been artificially enhanced by the fact he has been holding vario WBO titles over the years, including the WBO China Zone Flyweight title and the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title, which he won against Seran.
As for Japan their ranked contender is the #10 ranked Yu Kimura (15-2-1, 2). Kimura is the Japanese national champion and has been eyeing up an opportunity for a world title fight in recent months. On paper he's a much better challenger than Ming and has won at a higher level, with wins over Kenichi Horikawa and Yuki Chinen. He is also a proven tough guy and his most notable loss so far with a TKO loss to current WBA champion Ryoichi Taguchi. On paper this would be our "third choice" if bouts with Paipharob and Taconing cannot be made, though we suspect this may be a perfect choice for ALA and it would allow Nietes to be compared to Taguchi.
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