FightPost Boxer of the Week: Francisco Estrada
By Gary Kittilsen
Matchroom Boxing returned to Mexico for the first time since February of 2019 when Humberto Soto and Brandon Rios went to war over twelve hellacious rounds.
Eddie Hearn could not have picked a better fight to return to Mexico with, than Juan Francisco Estrada versus Carlos Cuadras fights. A rematch of their highly close and controversial fight of the year type fight back in 2017.
Given each fighter’s offense friendly styles and how entertaining their first fight was the rematch was highly anticipated, and did it ever deliver!
The two turned in another fight of the year type of scrap as “El Gallo” Juan Francisco Estrada rose off the canvas, escaped trouble and delivered a sensational 11th round TKO stoppage in Mexico City’s Federal District to retain his WBC super-flyweight world title and capture our Fighter of the Week award.
Carlos Cuadras knew his best chance of upsetting the reigning champ was to stand toe to toe and outslug Estrada and that’s exactly what he attempted to do.
Coming forward throughout the opening round Cuadras set the pace landing big right hands and left hooks catching the attention of the champion.
Estrada settled in during the second round scoring with a crisp clean uppercut snapping the challenger’s head back in the opening moments of the round and following up with a three punch combination just moments later. Estrada seemed to have taken control of the fight when with just seconds left in the third a sweeping left hook connected perfectly on the chin of Estrada and sent him to the canvas.
In the fourth Estrada picked up the pace and started bringing the action to his opponent. Scoring with big right hands and forcing Cuadras to retreat.
In the fifth ” El Gallo” scored with a big uppercut that stunned his opponent and he followed up with a hook to the body. The two continued to trade heavy artillery throwout the middle rounds.
In the 10th Cuadras opened up a cut over Estrada’s eye and that seemed to give him a second wind as he rallied throughout the round and hurt Estrada with another left hook having perhaps his best round since the third and was evening up the fight.
His rally proved to be short-lived however as the champ looked determine to not let the fight go to the cards. Estrada dropped his opponent with a left hook-right hand combination just 16 seconds into the 11th.
The challenger beat the count but was noticeably hurt and Estrada looked to close the show. Jumping on his wounded opponent and again dropping him just moments later with a perfectly placed right hand and again Cuadras beat the count and bravely fought on.
Cuadras began winging power shots from every angle trying desperately to land something and change the momentum. but an Estrada uppercut followed by a straight right hand and left hook sent Cuadras stumbling across the ring causing the referee to jump in and wave the bout off. Giving Estrada the 11th round TKO.
Not often do fighters in the smaller weight classes capture the attention of the boxing world and become mainstream stars. Given Estrada’s resume and fan-friendly style, he is certainly one of those very rare exceptions.
Fortunately for Estrada, and us boxing fans, he has another one of those rare stars in his weight class. Who also happens to have a world title.
The next step for each os these two stars ia is a logical one and a unification bout seems to be in order. WBA 115-pound champ Ramon “Chocolatito” Gonzalez closely outpointed Estrada at 108-pounds back in 2012.
Estrada, who has certainly filled out and is the bigger man would look to avenge that loss and will almost certainly get that chance in 2021 as there is no bigger fight in the weight class that can be made.
In the outside chance that fight between can not be made, 115 is among the most stacked divisions in the sport and names like Joshua Franco and former champ Kal Yafai, who both fight on the DAZN platform, would certainly step up and fill in for Chocolatito.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing