INGLEWOOD, Calif., April 26, 2019 – Juan Francisco Estrada delivered the fight he has always been capable of delivering, shutting down Srisikat Sor Rungvisai to win the rematch of the close 2018 decision for Rungvisai on Friday night. Estrada is now the WBC Super Flyweight champion. Judges scores were 116-112, and 115-113 X 2.
Estrada (39-3, 26 KOs) got an assist from a tactical misstep from Rungvisai (47-5-1, 39 KOs) in the early rounds, when the southpaw decided to fight from an orthodox stance. It was a headscratcher, especially because he stuck with it after it became obvious it wasn’t working. Estrada came out smoking at the opening bell, and his early success pushing Rungvisai back boosted his confidence as the fight went on.
Estrada has a half step on Rungvisai, who appeared slow. The Thai fighter still caught Estrada with shots, but without any devastating consequences. Estrada’s timing and strength gained as the fight went on. But even a slowed down Rungvisai is a dangerous opponent. Estrada ate plenty of good punches and kept coming.
Rungvisai finally abandoned the southpaw experiment, and he came alive in the championship rounds. In the 11th round, Rungvisai hit Estrada with a low blow. After Estrada took a few moments to walk it off, Rungvisai came alive, perhaps sensing his chance to change the course of the close fight.
The final rounds were fought at a blistering pace. Rungvisai did damage; Estrada didn’t need to take so many chances, but it made for an exciting conclusion to the bout. “I wanted to show the people that I’m fierce,” said Estrada after the fight. “He has to show it to the Mexican people and everybody.”
Estrada credited his preparation for the victory. “We 100 percent prepared.” But Estrada didn’t prepare for Rungvisai’s orthodox game plan. “He surprised me, because he’s always lefty. It surprised me that he fought orthodox because I feel very good against right handers, no problem,” said Estrada.
Estrada said he’d give Rungvisai a third fight, but would first prefer to fight another super flyweight champion in a unification bout. Rungvisai did not speak to the boxing media after the bout, but his manager later said Rungvisai would be interested in a third fight.
Estrada landed 289 of 1,019 total punches thrown (28 percent), to 230 of 971 for Rungvisai (24 percent). Estrada landed 231 power punches to 187 for Rungvisai.
Exceeding expectations: Daniel Roman defeats TJ Doheny to unify titles
Daniel Roman and T.J. Doheny delivered 12 rounds of all-action combat in the co-main event, with Roman of Inglewood (27-2-1, 10 KOs) winning by majority decision against Doheny of Australia via Ireland (21-1, 15 KOs). Roman becomes the unified WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight World titles with the win. Scores were 116-110 X 2 and 113-113.
Neither man was going to let his title slip through his hands. Doheny delivered strong early rounds, but was caught on a left hand by Roman at the end of Round 2. His right eye began to swell and grew worse as the fight wore on. Doheny ignored it and fought on with tremendous energy and motivation. Perhaps Doheny feared his injuries might catch up with him, or perhaps it’s simply his Irish nature.
In the middle rounds, Roman shifted his approach and started targeting Doheny’s body. It was a smart approach, and it worked. As he hammered Doheny, the damage started piling up. Doheny fired back with shots of his own, hoping to land something effective. Roman stood firm against the worst of it.
In the 11th round, Roman hit Doheny straight to the gut and dropped him to his knees. Doheny got to his feet, and summoned the will to finish the round, and eventually the fight. The crowd at The Forum was also on its feet as the final bell sounded.
“I respect him as a fighter and a person,” said Roman, thanking Doheny for taking the fight. “I realized I can’t stand and trade with him; he’s a strong guy.” Roman said when he started targeting the body, he knew it was the right approach. “I felt as soon as I connected with body shots, his conditioning started going down,” said Roman.
Doheny may have lost the bout, but he won enormous respect from his opponent and the Forum fans. Doheny congratulated Roman and his team. “He’s a great fighter, and he’s a great gentleman. That means more to me than anything,” said Doheny. “Plan 1 was to come to Los Angeles and become the unified champion. That didn’t happen. Plan 2, to give the people of Los Angeles an absolute war, and I hope I entertained them tonight.”
Doheny agreed it was the body work that made the difference. “I think it was around the middle rounds, he caught me with a really good body shot and I didn’t recover from it. I’m an Irishman, we tough it out to the end.
“Look, like I said, my stock can only go up from here,” added Doheny. “I put it all on the line in there. The winner was going to be number one, Danny’s the man, I can’t take it away from him. We came up short tonight but we’re learning all the time. The best is yet to come.”
WBC Super Bantamweight champion Rey Vargas watched the fight ringside, and Roman said he’d love to fight Vargas for a third belt. Although Roman has his sights set on unification, no one would mind a rematch with TJ Doheny when he’s up for it.
Mano a mano: Jessie Vargas drops Humberto Soto in six
Jessie Vargas and Humberto Soto delivered more action in six rounds than all of the undercard fights combined. In his first fight at junior middleweight, Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KOs) scored his first knockout in five years against Mexican veteran Humberto Soto of Mexico (69-10-2, 37 KOs).
Vargas and Soto went toe to toe from the opening bell. Vargas suffered a cut from punches over the left eye early in round two. “It was really frustrating,” said Vargas, who said he thought, “I better keep the distance and know exactly where he’s at. I’m not saying it was intentional, but I had to be cautious and aware so another cut wouldn’t happen.” Vargas answered with body work setting up several nice left hooks.
Soto stayed competitive, laying traps and using every veteran trick in the book. Vargas did a solid job not taking the bait. With an action-packed fight underway close on the judges’ scorecard. Vargas tossed Soto on his backside a minute into the round, courtesy of an excellent right hook.
Soto made it to his feet, but he was seriously hurt and could not put up any resistance. Vargas swarmed Soto with punches, and referee Thomas Taylor finally stopped it at 1:48 of the round.
“I was breaking him down little by little, he’s a crafty veteran,” said Vargas. “I knew what he was doing. I let him dictate the pace, then counterpunched him. I caught him with a right hand … It’s a beautiful sport. I love it, I love to entertain everyone who’s here,” said an elated Vargas, who credited new trainer Freddie Roach for his results Friday. “I’m still targeting a world championship. I haven’t got a knockout in more than five years, that says something. I was taking my time, looking for my shots. I’ve never left Las Vegas (to train) till now, but it paid off.”’
Vargas did score a TKO win over Sadam Ali in 2016, but his last knockout was in July 2011 over Walter Estrada at super lightweight. Time flies. Super welterweight looks good on Vargas. He’d be competitive against anyone the way he looked Friday. Wins might come hard against the top names, but Vargas deserves the chance.
Undercard results: Sims Jr. and Giyasov hang in, Pacheco thrills his LA fans
Super middleweight Anthony “The Magician” Sims Jr. of Compton (19-0, 17 KOs) had his knockout streak ended by Vaughn “Da Animal” Alexander of St. Louis (14-3, 9 KOs), a moral victory for the veteran. Not all that much magic, but Sims Jr. prevailed in a unanimous decision. Scores were 98-92 X 2 and 96-94. Sims Jr., age 24, stepped up in opposition against the 33-year-old Alexander. Sims shows a solid jab and good hand speed, but neither man was busy enough in the ring. It made for a solid sparring session for both men, but not the thrilling fight fans hoped for.
Los Angeles native Diego Pacheco (3-0, 2 KOs) gave his many local fans cheering him on at The Forum a thrilling first-round knockout at 1:46, courtesy of a right hook landed flush on Guillermo Maldonado (1-1). The 18-year-old Pacheco is a promising middleweight with an impressive following for a young prospect.
Super lightweight Shakhram Giyasov of Uzbekistan (8-0, 6 KOs) got into a far tougher bout than expected against Emanuel Taylor of Baltimore (20-6, 14 KOs). Taylor came out at the bell with bad intentions and rocked Giyasov in the opening round. He hurt Giyasov again in the fourth round. The pair traded power shots for the rest of the fight. Taylor seemed ahead in the early rounds, but Giyasov chipped away as Taylor seemed to run out of steam. Giyasov gets the unanimous decision by surprisingly wide scorecards of 99-91 X 2 and 97-93. It’s a good learning experience for the Olympic silver medalist as he adjusts to the pro ranks.
Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams won his highly anticipated pro debut and now has a perfect record and stoppage streak, taking just 2:06 of Round 1 to stop Joe Guevara (3-5-1 2 KOs).
Former world title challenger Ronnie Rios from nearby Santa Ana, California (30-3, 14 KOs) stopped Daniel Olea of Mexico. (13-8-2 5 KOs). Olea’s corner stopped the bout after the fifth round of the eight round contest.
Argentinian Olympian Alberto Melian (5-0, 3 KOs) tangled with Isaac Zarate of Los Angeles (16-5-3 2 KOs) over ten rough rounds. to close the evening. Melian wins the unanimous decision with scores were 95-92 X 2 and 94-93. Zarate gave Melian a lot to handle, and both men suffered knockdowns on the way to the final bell.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter & Instagram @PRProSanDiego
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