INGLEWOOD, Calif., September 7, 2018 – HBO’s Boxing After Dark returns on Saturday, September 7 with the third edition of the best showcase in the sport for talented fighters in the smaller weight divisions. The televised fights begin at 9:45 pm ET/PT from The Forum in Inglewood, California.
“Superfly 3” features three televised fights, two of them battles for national bragging rights, and the third an intriguing bout between fighters looking to forge new opportunities for themselves.
Estrada vs. Orucuta: El Gallo plans to put Gallito in his place
The main event features the single boxer who has appeared on all three “Superfly” cards so far, Juan Francisco Estrada of Sonora, Mexico. “El Gallo” (36-3, 25 KOs) faces countryman Felipe Orcuta (36-4, 30 KOs) of Nicolas Romero, Mexico in a 12-rund bout. Estrada is coming off a majority decision loss to Srisakey Sor Rungvisai, a contender for Fight of the Year in 2017. Estrada gave Rungvisai a real challenge following the Thai fighter’s dominating knockout win of former pound for pound champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
Despite the loss, the fight established Estrada as among the most highly skilled in the division. Estrada and promoter Tom Loeffler had hoped to set up a rematch for Superfly 3, but Rungvisai is still enjoying victory laps in Thailand with fights in front of his fans at home. Enter Orucuta, moving up in weight to face Estrada. He hasn’t lost since 2015 when trainer Nacho Beristain called a halt to his fight against Jose Cateyano.
“I’m very happy to be back in Los Ángeles for another Superfly card,” said Estrada. “I am very proud to headline a big card like this and I hope to give the fans a great fight just like my other two Superfly appearances. Most of all I want to win to keep on track to fight for a world championship in my next fight.”
Orucuta can box, but he isn’t afraid of a brawl. He is riding a five fight knockout streak. Orcuta is taller and has better mobility than Estrada. He wants to impress the fans, as most Mexican boxers do.
The fans and the media are all great and I look forward to giving them a fantastic fight full of action, excitement and drama on Saturday night,” said Orucuta.“This is like a dream come true for me. I am on a fantastic card against one of the best fighters in the world in a legendary venue. It’s the opportunity I have been seeking for a long time. I am very grateful to HBO and Tom Loeffler for making this happen.”
“I trained very hard and I am ready to go to war and get this win. It should be a great fight and I intend to win it at all costs.
Orucuta will need to be aggressive against Estrada to have a chance. Estrada can be a slow starter, which hurt him against Rungvisai. But Estrada is a smart and versatile fighter with something to prove. In front of a Mexican-American crowd at The Forum, the pair may be drawn into a classic all-action brawl, egged on by their approval. Estrada would do better to stay a little more disciplined, and he’ll need to work hard to ensure there are no surprises on the scorecards. With a win, Estrada will start making his case (again) for a rematch with Rungvisai.
“I know Orucuta very well, he a tall, strong fighter that will make this fight very hard for me,” said Estrada. “I expect a war between two Mexican fighters who will bring their best on Saturday night … I am out to prove that I am the best super flyweight in the world.”
Nietes vs. Palicte fight for title and Pinoy Pride
The co-main event is another national rivalry. Four-time champion Donnie Nietes of the Philippines (41-1-4, 23 KOs) fights Aston Palicte (24-2, 20 KOs) in a 12-round fight with the vacant WBO super flyweight title on the line.
“I know Aston is taller and younger than me, but I know how to fight tall fighters and my experience will be a big factor in the fight. I am happy for this fight and the exposure that it will bring me. There are a lot of good fighters in the super flyweight division and I look forward to fighting Juan Francisco Estrada if we both win on Saturday Sept 8 at the Forum.”
Nietes is moving up in weight to seek his fifth title. He hasn’t lost since 2004. Most of his bouts have been in the Philippines, but he is perhaps the best Filipino boxer not named Manny Pacquiao. He scored an impressive seventh round knockout against Juan Carlos Reveco of Argentina. Palicte is an ambitious 26-year-old willing to take a chance against Nietes, who is ten years older at 36. Unless many smaller fighters who grow old quickly, Nietes seems to be beaten the odds and getting stronger as he gets older.
“I am the stronger, faster fighter in this bout and I need to take advantage of my height and reach. I believe I can knockout Nietes and make a name for myself with this win. If not by knockout I will get a decision. This is a fantastic fight for all Filipino boxing fans and we will continue the great tradition of Filipino boxing into the ring on September 8 at the Forum.”
None of the fans at The Forum and watching on HBO Boxing won’t be unhappy if they enjoy a repeat of the dominating performance they saw from Nietes at Superfly 2. Palicte has youth on his side, but it may not be near enough to help him stand up to an assault by a determined Nietes. The only question mark is whether Nietes can bring the same kind of heat at 115 pounds. Our answer: yes, and if there’s a knockout in any of the three TV fights, it’s going to be this one.
Arroyo vs. Ioka: Puerto Rican hopes to repeat a good performance
Also making his second Superfly appearance, McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico (17-3, 14 KOs) returns from a majority decision over Carlos Cuadras of Mexico to take on Kazuto Ioka of Japan (22-1, 13 KOs). It is Ioka’s American debut. Arroyo has always been underestimated and is a far more skilled fighter than his record suggests. He put on a competitive defense in his loss to Roman Gonzalez in 2016, even more impressive in retrospect considering Gonzalez’s subsequent fights against Rungvisai.
Ioka, now 39 years old, decided to retire last year after the fifth defense of his WBA world flyweight title. But anyone is entitled to change his mind, and it was Superfly 2 that inspired Ioka to come back. “I attended Superfly 2 while I was on vacation after I retired,” said Ioka. “While watching each of the three top fights, I know I could compete and be victorious against any of the fighters in the series that night. I loved the atmosphere at the Forum and wanted very much to fight on Superfly 3. I wanted another challenge like this.”
Ioka is moving up one weight division in his return against Arroyo. Credit Ioka for not taking an easy tune-up fight. Perhaps he couldn’t resist the opportunity to fight for the first time in the U.S. in Los Angeles, where there is a healthy appreciation for Japanese boxing talent.
“I have a lot of respect for Arroyo but I have prepared very well in Las Vegas with Ismael Salas to be victorious,” said Ioka. With a win, he will become Japan’s first four division champion.
Arroyo’s confidence got a serious boost with his win over Cuadras. He’s in an ideal position to prove it wasn’t a fluke. “There’s a lot of hype around Ioka but I’m the best fighter he’s faced,” said Arroyo. “I had a great win against Carlos Cuadras, I was overlooked then and feel that I’m being overlooking now. None of that will matter on Saturday night when I’ll be victorious and ready to move on to bigger fights.”
Expect both Arroyo and Ioka to bring it and give the Forum fans a lot to cheer about, but don’t expect either to leave early. These two know how to take punishment as well as dish it out. Arroyo is hitting his stride and comfortable at this weight. We see a decision win for Arroyo.
Credit is due to HBO and promoter Tom Loeffler for providing the Superfly platform for talented fighters in the small weight division, and for proving they can be as big a draw as their larger brothers. ““The fighters in the lower weight class divisions relish the opportunity to be on HBO and that’s why they are willing to fight world class opposition in tough matchups,” said Loeffler. “That’s what makes the Superfly series so great for the fans and why each event has been so successful. We’re expecting a huge crowd next Saturday night at the Forum to see this exciting HBO televised triple header along with a tremendous undercard.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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