SAN DIEGO, Calif., February 23, 2018 – The gold standard in boxing is delivering events where fans get to see ‘the best fighting the best.’ It doesn’t get any better than last September’s “Superfly” tournament, featuring nearly all of the top ten fighters in the division.
Promoter Tom Loeffler was so pleased with the interest and response of fans to the HBO “Superfly” card, he said he believed there will be a “Superfly 2.”
He was good to his word and isn’t messing with success. The second edition in what we hope will be an ongoing series, “Superfly 2,” takes place this Saturday at The Forum in Los Angeles with three championship bouts and a mandatory elimination fight on the same card.
The televised fights air on HBO Boxing After Dark® at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.
“I think we’ve actually managed to top it this time, if you can imagine,” Loeffler said on the HBO Boxing Podcast.
“These lighter divisions, they’ll fight the best fighters. They’re not afraid to defend their titles or unify their titles against other top fighters. And I think that’s what allows us to make these great fights.”
Rungvisai continues to make his case for boxing greatness against Estrada
After Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand (43-4-1, 39 KOs) proved his first victory over former number one pound for pound phenomenon Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua was not a fluke with a definitive knockout win, Rungvisai now faces mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico (36-2-0, 25 KOs) for Rungvisai’s WBC super flyweight title.
Estrada earned the right to take on Rungvisai after defeating countryman Carlos Cuadras (36-2-1, 27 KOs) in a narrow decision on the same “Superfly” card.
Rungvisai, a national hero in Thailand, vaulted to the top of the division after his impressive knockout of Gonzalez. Serious fans have taken note. Proving he isn’t one to duck a challenge, he’ll have his hands full with another tough opponent in Estrada, whose only significant loss came to Gonzalez as light flyweights in 2011 at the height of Chocolatito’s skills.
Estrada can make a huge statement with a win against Rungvisai.
Estrada said he’s had a strong training camp and he’s ready. As soon as I was offered the fight I accepted, it’s a great opportunity to become a world champion again and to honor Mexico. I know how good Sor Rungvisai is from his last two fights with Roman Gonzalez, he’s very strong but I have the skills to defeat him.”
“The whole country of Mexico and boxing fans all over the world will be watching Superfly 2 and I look forward to putting on a spectacular performance for them,” Estrada says.
This fight is a great style match-up and could light up The Forum with fireworks. Rungvisai is an excellent counterpuncher. He can thread his powerful left hand through the smallest opening. Estrada has the come-forward aggression so well known among Mexican fighters.
Expect plenty of bang-bang exchanges at warp speed before one of these two figures out the other. So far, Rungvisai continues to beat expectations, and I believe he’ll do it again with Estrada. But Estrada will offer more opposition than Gonzalez, whose best fights were at 108 and 112 pounds. Either way, the fans win.
Carlos Cuadras and McWilliams Arroyo offer classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matchup
Rungvisai’s only significant loss was giving up his title to Carlos Cuadras in 2014 on enemy turf in Mexico City. He’d surely love to avenge that loss, and Cuadras is eager to play. He gets the chance to earn that right if he has a good showing Saturday against McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico (16-3, 14 KOs). The winner becomes the mandatory challenger to the winner of the main event. Arroyo is a solid performer who took Roman Gonzalez into deep waters in his last fight at flyweight, and he’ll give Cuadras the serious test he needs before facing either Rungvisai or Estrada.
“I know Arroyo very well, he’s a great fighter,” Cuadras said at the press conference announcing the card. “It’s Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, which is always a great fight. I have to beat Arroyo and then I want to fight Estrada again. I have the medicine in my fist to beat them both.” The fun-loving Cuadras gave fans his tongue-in-cheek motto: “I’m fast and strong and very, very handsome baby.”
Cuadras should be able to do what it takes to get past Arroyo, but he needs a flashy performance to live up to his personality outside the ring. His last few bouts were a bit less than his best.
Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes joins the Forum lineup
The second title fight on the card features the top man in the flyweight division at 112 pounds. Donnie Nietes of the Philippines (40-1-4, 22 KOs) fights his mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3, 19 KOs) of Argentina with the IBF World Flyweight title at stake. Making his first title defense, Nietes is undefeated since 2004. He hasn’t lost in 32 fights. A former three-time champion making his first U.S. appearance, Reveco has faced stiff challenges before, including a 2015 loss to Kazuto Ioka of Japan.
Nietes has been training in the U.S. at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, and has been sparring with fellow flyweight Brian Viloria of the U.S., who may end up being his next opponent.
“To be part of such a terrific boxing card is great for me and my career,” said Nietes. “The exposure I will get on HBO on this card will take my career to another level. I am looking forward to fighting in the Forum, a historic boxing venue and I will try to give everyone the best fight possible.”
Brian Viloria seeks title shot versus Ukrainian challenger
On the non-televised undercard, the vacant WBA World Flyweight title is at stake for Viloria (38-5, 22 KOs), who faces mandatory challenger Artem Dalakian of Ukraine (15-0, 11 KOs).
The 37-year-old Viloria has gotten a second wind in his career, despite of or perhaps because of his tough loss to Gonzalez. “I have been doing this for a long time and I still love boxing,” said Viloria. “For me boxing is a lifestyle, I don’t consider it work at all, so as long as I feel good and I get opportunities I will continue to work hard to be ready.”
Viloria said working with Nietes has been a great experience as he prepares for Dalakian. The 30-year-old Ukrainian could pull off the surprise of the night. He’s never fought outside the Ukraine, but this small nation is a hotbed of boxing talent. It’s hard to get a precise read on Dalakian’s skills. He’s riding a four knockout winning streak, and he’s undefeated. Viloria is smart and seasoned, and knows how to survive. We’ll take Viloria by decision in this one, but he can’t make a mistake and allow Dalakian to test his power.
The Winter Olympics are all but over, so do yourself a big favor and enjoy the speed, power, and action the smaller weight divisions have to offer. But I warn you, it’s addicting.
About the Author
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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