What Next For Estrada, sor Rungvisai, McCaskill & Benavidez
By Oliver McManus
A busy weekend of boxing saw events worth watching on both sides of the Atlantic but eyes were firmly fixed on the lower weights with Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez looking to unify the WBA and WBC super-flyweight titles.
As always when the dust settles there is plenty to pick apart and, in this, we look ahead at what might be next for some of the key players from the weekend.
Stealing the headlines was Juan Francisco Estrada who defeated Chocolatito via split decision – 117-111, 115-113, 113-115 – but the scoring overshadowed what was a captivating contest. In truth, Carlos Sucre’s 117-111 card was a stretch for even the most diehard Estrada fans: this particular writer scored it 115-113 for Gonzalez.
The route from here is littered with plenty of forks in the road. Immediately in many minds was the potential for a trilogy contest between the two men and having had to wait nine years for the rematch we’d hope the third fight arrives a fair lot sooner.
The spanner in the works comes in the form of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai who, himself, has had two contests with both Estrada and Gonzalez. The 34 year old Thai fighter is the WBC mandatory and kept busy on Saturday with a routine victory over Kwanthi Sithmorseng in Bang Thun.
Whether or not the WBC push that mandatory as the next contest remains to be seen but, actually, Estrada vs Rungvisai or Gonzalez vs Rungvisai are the more appealing contests out of this trio seemingly locked together for eternity.
Jessica McCaskill proved her win over Cecilia Braekhus to hand The First Lady another defeat and retain her undisputed welterweight titles. The action wasn’t quite as wide as the scores (100-89, 99-90, 98-91) but it was certainly comfortable for McCaskill who started brightly and carried that form throughout.
The former super-lightweight world champion holds all the cards at 147lbs and looks in a class of her own at the weight. There’s clearly legacy defining fights available at weights either side of her – Claressa Shields at 154lbs seems unlikely – perhaps a dip back to 140lbs for a potential clash with Chantelle Cameron. But, in truth, you’d forgive her for rewarding herself with a comparatively easier match-up next time out.
Also on that world title triple header in Dallas was Japan’s Hiroto Kyoguchi who defended his WBA light flyweight title against Axel Aragon Vega. His Mexican opponent made the contest surprisingly competitive and established a rhythm of his own before injuring his right hand being unable to continue at the midway stage of round five. Vega was looking good and may well be unfortunate that there won’t be many cries to give him a second crack at the shot.
Another Mexican may await for Kyoguchi with a unification fight against Elwin Soto, WBO world champion, my personal pick.
24 year old super middleweight David Benavidez has been embroiled in more than his fair share of controversy: Benavidez has relinquished the WBC’s 168lb strap on two occasions. In 2018 he tested positive for the core component found in cocaine and in August last year he was forced to vacate the belt after weighing in nearly three pounds over the limit.
He’s a talented fighter, make no mistake, and he showed that class to stop Ronald Ellis (18-1-2) in the 11th round of their contest.
Canelo Alvarez has usurped Benavidez as the WBC kingpin and is due to meet Billy Joe Saunders on May 8th. Benavidez, meanwhile, has made it clear he ‘needs to earn’ the shot at Canelo which is a crafty way of saying he doesn’t fancy the fight just yet. If Benavidez is wanting to get straight back into the world title picture then a clash with Caleb Plant, IBF titlist, is an appealing one. If, however, he wants one more fight before returning to the big time then Daniel Jacobs is always but you wouldn’t put money on it being a particularly pulsating fight.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing