In 2011 fans saw Filipino fighter Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20) come up short in a bout for the WBO Minimumweight title, when he was stopped by Mexican Raul Garcia in 3 rounds. Since then Asenjo has gone 6-0 (4) as he has rebuilt his career and now finds himself getting a second world title fight on April 28th. Unfortunately for the diminutive Filipino fighter he will be up against one of boxing's most impressive champions, WBA "Super" and WBO Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22). And just like the Garcia bout, we will see Asenjo needing to travel to Mexico. Worst of all for Asenjo he will be stepping in to the Flyweight division for the first time since a 2008 loss to a young and emerging Suriyan Sor Rungvisai.
For those who remember Asenjo's loss to Garcia, it was huge step up in class and one he was simple not ready for. Asenjo had, up to that point, never fought anyone above the Filipino domestic level and had found that many of those domestic opponent were unable to cope with his power. In fact when he entered that bout he had a record of 20-2 (16) and had only gone beyond 8 rounds once, taking a narrow decision over Jetly Purisima for a regional WBO title. It was a bout Asenjo wasn't ready for and it was little surprise when he suffered his sole stoppage defeat.
Sadly since his loss to Garcia we've seen Asenjo return back to the Filipino domestic level where he has remained unbeaten but hardly looked impressive with a real struggle last time out against Powell Balaba. He has also been plagued by some notable inactivity, including a break of 18 months, in recent years.
In the ring Asenjo has traits of a number of other Filipino fighters. He's heavy handed, fights from the southpaw stance and although he seems to have power he is crude and has a lot of question marks surrounding his actual ability. On paper his record looks pretty and he boasts 14 stoppages in the first 3 rounds, in reality however that says a lot about his competition.
Mexico's Estrada first came to the attention of the international boxing community back in 2012 when he went toe-to-toe with Roman Gonzalez in a 2012 FOTY contender. Since then his reputation has sky-rocketed courtesy of wins against the likes Brian Viloria, Milan Melindo and Giovani Segura. The only real mark against him since then has been his struggle against unheralded Filipino Joebert Alvarez last time out, a struggle that wasn't reflected in the disgustingly wide scorecards.
Estrada is a huge fighter at Flyweight. Officially he is listed at 5'4" but the height measurement doesn't do him justice for his overall frame which is much bigger than that of a typical Flyweight. Given his size it seems almost certain that we will see Estrada moving to 115lbs sooner rather than later and we expect to see him being even more impressive at the higher weight, a weight he flirted with in his bout against Alvarez.
Sometimes when we watch Estrada we're not blown away by him, however his weaknesses are few and far between, and seem to only rear their head when he expects an easy bout. When feeling like he needs to go through the gears he's a wonderful all-rounder with hurtful power, very good boxing, a real gritty toughness and a fantastic engine. We won't pretend he's unbeatable but he's only going to be beaten by very special fighters, or when he's over-looked an opponent and been made to pay for his complacency.
Whilst we have mentioned Estrada's complacency we really can't see even a complacent Estrada coming up short against Asenjo who appears to be made to order. He's much smaller than the champion, he's never managed to score a win that would even give us an inkling of the upset and he's also been stopped the last time he fought at an elevated level like this. Given the size, skill, power and physical advantages of the champion we really can't see anything but a quick and easy looking win for Estrada who will be looking to put the lingering memory of the Alvarez bout behind him in style.
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.