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.
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.