In 2017 we saw Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-5-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] announce himself to an international audience as he beat Roman Gonzalez in a close decision to reclaim the WBC Super Flyweight title that he had a lost a few years earlier to Carlos Cuadras. A second win over Gonzalez followed for the Thai who was proving he was no one hit wonder. Last year we saw him again shine on US soil, winning a FOTY contender against excellent Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (39-3, 26). Just moments ago we saw the rematch between Srisaket and Estrada, and we ended up with one of the most disappointing and odd fights of 2019.
Srisaket, known for being a huge punching Thai southpaw, came out in the orthodox stance, and wasn't fighting to his strengths. Instead of pressing the action he was boxing with the master boxer, and being made to look silly by a sharp, accurate and quick Estrada. Srisaket was being picked off, made to look clumsy and silly and really being schooled in the first half of the fight. Even when Srisaket did turn southpaw there was no concentrated effort to fight in the stance, turning righty against after just a few moments.
Whilst Srisaket did have moments, landing some solid right hands and some notable body shots, he was being out landed, out boxed, out moved and out thought. It seemed as if his entire gameplan was wrong, and yet he was sticking to it, not reverting to what had got him so much success through his career.
By round 7 Estrada was starting to bully Srisaket, and it looked like he could end up forcing a stoppage if he wished. Thankfully for Srisaket he began to wake up, began to realise he had to show more intensity and had to try and keep his title.
Sadly it wasn't until round 10 that Srisaket actually made an effort to fight southpaw. When he elected to to do that he began to have success, landing his power shots and making life very uncomfortable for the Mexican. A low blow in round 11 left Estrada in agony and Srisaket kept the pressure on from there, drawing out the machishmo from Estrada who stood and fought rather than boxed smartly. It made the final couple of rounds exciting, but by then it was clear Srisaket needed a knockout, and he hadn't looked like getting one in over 20 rounds of being in the ring with Estrada.
The final couple of rounds helped Srisaket close the gap on the scorecards, but he was clearly second best, and Estrada took the decision with scores of 116-112, and 115-113 twice. We struggle to see how any judge could have it 115-113, in fact even 116-112 feels closer than it should have been.
The big question after the fight has to be "Why did Srisaket fight orthodox?" He has had success through his career as a southpaw, had success today when he fought lefty and clearly should have fought as a southpaw again. There may be a chance, down the line, for a third meeting, but on this stupid performance it's hard to see many pushing for it to be made immediately given the depth of the division. There are more attractive options out there for Estrada than a third meeting with Srisaket, especially a Srisaket set on proving a point.
Strangely, given how sharp Estrada looked, it may not have actually mattered had Srisaket fought southpaw through the fight or not.
Last year we saw Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40) announce himself on to Western audiences as he twice beat Roman Gonzalez to become a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion. This past Saturday he returned to the US to make his second defense of the title, facing off with the highly skilled Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (36-3, 25) on “Superfly 2”.
On paper the bout had all the ingredients to be something very special. It had one of the sports biggest punchers against one of the sports against one of the sports best all round fighters in a contest that fans had been anticipating ever since Srisaket stopped Gonzalez, in their second boud.
The bout started slowly, with both men looking to find their range and timing. It was Estrada who settled quicker and he certainly took the first round with no argument, and also likely the second as the crowd got behind everything he did. It was a crowd that seemed to clearly be cheering on the Mexican though it seemed like he had brought a pistol to a shotgun fight and in round 3 Srisaket started to land body shots with regularity. The success of the Thai seemed to make Estrada a little bit more apprehensive and the middle rounds were strong ones for the Thai, who seemed to out work, out muscle and our power the Mexican.
Despite being out powered Estrada had real moments of success, landing some beautiful single shots. Sadly for him they seemed to just bounce off Srisaket whilst the Thai's shots had a clear impact on the challenge, making sweat fly through the air and buzzing Estrada on a number of occasions.
The middle rounds not only saw Srisaket land his best shots but also seemed to cause Estrada to miss more. He seemed unsure of himself at times and fell short with a lot of shots. He managed to use his feet to keep Srisaket to only throwing singles, but did little to impose himself offensively. Then again even when he did land bombs they didn't do anything to the Thai to discourage him from rushing in as, and when, he wanted.
By round 10 it seemed like Srisaket had done enough to retain his title, if he could stay up right. Despite that Estrada wasn't wanting to just roll over and give up his shot, and it showed as he finished round 11 really strong, before having a huge round 12. In fact round 12 will go down as on of the best rounds of the year as both traded bombs for the 3 minutes. Estrada was the one getting the better off it, by quite some margin with accuracy and work rate, and he even stunned Srisaket at times, but could never quite get enough sustained success to drop the Thai, who was firing back through out the round.
The final round seemed like one that Estrada fought knowing he was behind, knowing he needed a knockdown or even a knockout.
The judges scorecards could have been all over the place, with a number of rounds being close, in the end though the scores were 114-114, 115-113 and 117-111, giving Srisaket the majority decision win and his second defense.
With successive wins over Roman Gonzalez, twice, and Juan Francisco Estrada it's hard to argue with Srisaket's resume, and he has really added to his previous big wins against Jose Salgado and Yota Sato. For Estrada he has proven he can hang with the best Super Flyweights, though will be kicking himself for not turning up the heat and taking more risks earlier in the fight. He really did control the final round, when he forced a war on Srisaket and had he done that earlier in the bout who knows whether Srisaket would have won or not.
Some bouts look like mismatches the second they are signed. A punch doesn't always need to be thrown for us to know who's going to win. This was this past Friday night in Mexico as the diminutive Filipino Rommel Asenjo (26-4, 20) stepped up in weight and class to battle against the sensation Juan Francisco Estrada (32-2, 23). For Asenjo this was an opportunity he couldn't turn down, a win, however unlikely, would have have seen him claiming the WBA “super” and WBO Flyweight titles.
Sadly for Asenjo his only real success came in the opening with Asenjo managing to be competitive. What made the round competitive wasn't so much what Asenjo was doing, but more what Estrada wasn't doing. In fact the only really major punch in the opening round was a body shot from the champion who only fighting fighting in first gear.
In the second round the champion slowly began to warm up and in the final minute of the round things started to look very problematic for Asenjo who was looking completely out of his depth. Asenjo tried to counter when he had half a chance but was unable to get Estrada's respect whilst the champion really started to land with hurtful and clean shots, almost at will.
To his credit Asenjo saw out the round before going down, and although he was beginning to take a pounding there was still plenty of fight in the challenger. Sadly however his team seemed to know his time was numbered and less than a minute in round 3 they threw in the towel to save their swollen charge.
The ending was weird with he towel coming in when there was no real danger to the challenger, but the damage to his face was significant and in some ways the decision is an understandable one, it's just a shame it came this early into the fight when there was was a chance for Asenjo to go out on his sword.
Sadly for Asenjo this was the second time he'd come up short in a world title fight and we really can't see him getting a third shot. For Estrada it was too easy and it's now time he faced a real challenge rather than a Filipino foe that signed for the bout only weeks before it was set and had to come up 2 weight divisions fro the bout. He's better than this and should be fighting top competition on a more regular basis.
The Flyweight division is easily the most competitive in boxing right now. Whilst the American fans are fawning over the Welterweight division they are being by passed by the action, fighters, fighters and match ups at 112lbs which is a real shame.
One of three stand out Flyweights was in action this past weekend and that was Mexico's Juan Francisco Estrada (26-2, 19) the reigning WBO and WBA "super" champion at 112lbs. Estrada, who alongside Akira Yaegashi and Roman Gonzalez, has shown a willingness to fight anyone anywhere.
This time Estrada was returning home, to Puerto Penasco, after back to back fights in Macau. It was his first fight home since 2012 and he put on a show as the over-matched Filipino challenger Richie Mepranum (27-4-1, 6) fell short in his second world title bout.
Mepanum, who went in to the bout with plenty of confidence, knew he was in with a very good opponent. By the end of the second round Mepranum was beginning to to learn just how good Estrada was. The champion, almost immediately, found a home for his body shots and let rip with them landing some vicious ones throughout round 2. It seemed like it was the sort of attack that could finish an attack at any time and it seemed that even Estrada knew the crowd didn't want a finish that early.
If the second round had been painful for Mepranum then round 3 was just embarrassing as the champion offered his chin and cruised through the first 2 minutes before launching a scathing burst of offensive work that stole him the round. It was obvious that Estrada was too strong, too skilled, too tough and just too damned good for the Filipino challenger.
The challengers best moments of success came in round 4 as he managed to get Estrada on the ropes and went to work. Unfortunately for Mepranum his lack of power saw him struggling to to really hurt the champion. With both men finding their groove going into round 5 it appeared that we may have a fight and both started to exchange shots as the crowd began to raise their noise level. A slip from Estrada almost saw the champion going down but he quickly recovered before going back to work and dominating the remainder of the round. Although Mepranum smiled at the bell and raised his arms he was convincing no one, he was getting beat up by the end of the round.
In round 6 it was clear the body shots were taking their toll on the challenger and the two men spent long swathes of the round stood toe-to-toe in a battle of machismo. Unfortunately for Mepranum he was was on the receiving end of much of the punishment and although he was able to see out the round it was obvious that he was being ground down by the lovely offensive work of the champion. It seemed that every time Mepranum landed something he got paid back with interest and through out rounds 7 and 8 that really was taking it's toll on the challenger.
The toll continued through round 9 and it was clear that Mepranum was starting to get beaten up a little bit. He wasn't being destroyed but he had no way to win. He was 9 rounds down, he was getting tagged a lot, couldn't make Estrada back up or respect him and in the end he knew he was just going to take extra punishment for no gain. Instead he took the smart decision and retired on his stool before congratulating the very talented champion who just too much of everything for him.
For Mepranum this is a second failure in a world title bout whilst for Estrada this was a second successful defence with both coming against Filipino's. It's fair to say that Estrada will be keeping an eye on the upcoming IBF title fight between Amant Ruenroeng and Kazuto Ioka and will also be showing an interest in the winner of the up coming contest between Yaegashi and Roman Gonzalez, tentatively rumoured for September.
(Photo courtesy of Rafael Soto Zanfer)
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
Filipino challenger Milan Melindo (29-1, 12) took on the best Flyweight on the planet in Juan Francisco Estrada (25-2, 18), the WBA "super" and WBO champion, and whilst he came up short he proved that he belonged on the world level.
The Mexican champion, who incidentally won his world title in the same venue back in April by defeating Brian Viloria, went in as a clear betting favourite. Despite this Melindo seemed unfazed by the under-dog tag and after a quiet couple of rounds he started to come to life.
Using his excellent handspeed and crisp straight shots Melindo began to force Estrada back and even appeared to rock the champion as he began to his feet in the bout. It appeared, from round 3 onward that the challenger was up to the task and through the middle section of the fight he really showed why so many in the Philippines rave about him as he rattled off wonderful combinations on Estrada.
Although much of the bout was a high speed chess match it was clear that Melindo had both the speed and the boxing brain to hold his own with Estrada who at times actually seemed to run from the challenger. It was also surprising that Melindo appeared to have the power to hurt Estrada, something that Brian Viloria and Roman Gonzalez both struggled to do.
Unfortunately for the challenger he was often being tagged in the body by hard single shots from the champion who is one of the sports truly under-rated body punchers. These shots appeared to be taking their toll in the latter rounds with Melindo's offense becoming less and less notable from 9 onwards as Estrada began to bully a tiring challenger.
With Estrada coming on strong Melindo was going to have to fight off a determined champion and whilst he was holding his own in the trenches in round 10 he was clearly running out of gas.
As Melindo's work rate decreased and Estrada continued the charge Melindo was forced to take the power of Estrada who dropped him in round 11 as he started to turn the screw on the challenger. Melindo was again rocked in round 12 as Estrada tried to force an early conclusion though the Filipino showed his fighting spirit and saw out the final round.
Although the Filipino had fought his heart out and many felt he had pushed the champion all the way the judges seemed unimpressed by Melindo and had Estrada as a run away winner, claiming a lopsided decision as a result.
The scorecards may make fans, and Melindo himself, feel he was thoroughly outgunned though in all honesty most neutrals who watched the fight will know that he gave Estrada as tough a contest as Viloria did just a few short months ago.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.