Our favourite division right now is the 112lb Flyweight division. It's a division that has absolutely everything one could wish for in a division. Top fighters, skilled boxers, power punchers, crude sluggers, depth, notable names and most importantly big match ups which seem to be coming one after another.
The next great bout at 112lbs sees WBO and WBA "super" champion Juan Francisco Estrada (25-2, 18) defending his titles against the under-rated Filipino challenger Richie Mepranum (27-3-1, 6).
The challenger, who enters this bout as the clear under-dog is no stranger to being the over-looked fighter in a bout. He was written off when he moved up a class and faced his first former world title challenger Denkaosan Kaovichit in 2007 and gave the Thai a very tough contest, he was written off when he faced Rocky Fuentes and managed to defeat his Filipino countryman and most notably he was given no chance when he travelled to Mexico and took on and beat a previously unbeaten Hernan "Tyson" Marquez.
Although Mepranum has lost two, somewhat recent contests, both were at the top level and included a decision loss to Marquez and a stoppage loss to Julio Cesar Miranda, he has certainly proven he belongs in and around the world level.
At his best the Filipino is a tricky fighter who comes to fight and although he lacks power he makes up for it in volume and out put. His jab is sharp and quick, he follows up his connects with combinations and is tricky to pin down with intelligent movement. He can have his shots bounce off an opponent but he's slippery enough to make opponents look silly as he tags them then moves.
In Estrada we have a man who seemed to come out of no where back in November 2012 when he traded blows with sensational Nicaraguan Roman Gonalez. Although Estrada lost that night he has been on a tremendous rise ever since and has beaten both Brian Viloria, to win the titles, and Milan Melindo to defend them.
Big, strong, tough, heavy handed and with the ability to either fight or box Estrada looks likely to be a handful for anyone at 112lbs and further down the line at 115lbs if not as far as 118lbs. At just 24 years old Estrada is a boxing baby though fights like a season veteran and looks almost certain to become one of the next Mexican stars, at least in the lower weights.
With a glowing reputation Estrada really does seem like a huge favourite to successfully defend his belts against Mepranum in a fight that, if he's on form, he really can win any way he wishes. If an on form Estrada wants to box the odds are he'll do enough to take a decision, if he'd rather drag the Filipino into a war there would only be one man winning that.
Although Estrada is clearly the favourite we do expect him to be given a genuine test here. Mepranum is skilled enough and experienced enough to give most Flyweights fits and although he perhaps lacks the firepower to be a champion he is almost certainly going to be a top contender for the next few years.
We'd expect Mepranum to make Estrada look bad times but we can't see the Mexican losing to the Filipino, especially not here as fights in Puerto Penasco, the birth place of Estrada. He may not manage to take the belt but he will certainly not just roll over and take a loss without putting up a fight first.
We'd love to see the winner of this bout face the winner of the up coming contest between Akira Yaegashi and Roman Gonzalez. That would be a bout that would really give order to the division and clearly define the #1 and #2 at Flyweight. Thankfully with all of the top fighters showing a willingness to face other we wouldn't be shocked to see a division super either at the end of this year or the start of next year.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.