Forum fireworks: Rungvisai gets decision over Estrada; Arroyo, Nietes, Dalakian win
LOS ANGELES, Calif., February 24, 2018 – At the end of 12 thrilling rounds, it wouldn’t matter who won. Srisikat Sor Rungvisai versus Juan Francisco Estrada was a fight worth seeing again.
But there was a winner, and it was Rungvisai (44-4-1, 39 KOs) by majority decision over Estrada (36-3-0, 25 KOs). Scores were 117-111, 115-113, and a draw of 114-114. Rungvisai remains the WBC Super Flyweight champion.
It didn’t make the partisan Mexican and Mexican-American crowd too happy, who were rooting for Estrada throughout and who booed the decision.
Rungvisai is a power punching machine. There’s not a lot of variety, but when you’ve got an arsenal like Rungvisai, you can get away with it. Only eight of 194 punches he landed were jabs. Rungvisai is also the far busier puncher, throwing 879 total punches to 671 total for Estrada. Estrada’s connect percentage is higher, but judges see the busier power puncher landing a similar number of total punches in a more favorable light, knockdowns and knockouts aside.
Rungvisai fought two strong final rounds, and on two of the scorecards it was the difference in the fight, giving himself a draw on one care and the edge on the closer card.
“Estrada was a very good fighter, a very strong fighter,” said Rungvisai after the bout. “I love this style of fighting. It was a good fight.”
Rungvisai his motivation drove him to the win. “I was very, very confident I was winning. I really wanted to take this belt back to Thailand, and back to Thailand it goes.”
A disappointed Estrada saw things differently. “The people are the judge, you can hear them, they saw me win,” said Estrada, as the catcalls and boos rained down on the ring from the majority of the 7,827 fans at The Forum. “I thought I won the whole time out. If the judges saw it that way, that’s what it is. I thought I won the majority of rounds. But the people saw what happened.”
Both Estrada and Rungvisai said they’d fight again, and fight anyone willing to step up against them. With fighters like this, they mean it. It helps make great fights in divisions like super flyweight and flyweight with so many exciting athletes willing to get in the ring against anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Fans would welcome seeing a rematch.
Estrada’s loss came after the disappointing loss of countryman Carlos Cuadras (36-3-1, 27 KOs), who lost a majority decision to McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico (17-3, 14 KOs). Arroyo fought a smart fight, never letting Cuadras get settled or see the same look. “I’m very happy with my performance,” said Arroyo. “People underestimate me, because I’ve been off for two years but I’ve been in the gym the entire time training.”
“When the opportunity presented itself, I was ready for Cuadras and knew I’d be victorious,” said Arroyo. Given the difficult situation in Puerto Rico, it’s an even more impressive outcome
Cuadras said felt very stiff all fight long. “I couldn’t land any of the jabs I wanted,” he said. Cuadras’ new trainer, offense minded Abel Sanchez, said “Arroyo fought a very smart fight, never let Cuadras do anything. Sometimes that happens in boxing.”
Perhaps we can blame the monstrous sized bowl of ice cream Cuadras downed a few hours prior to the fight. It wasn’t the flashy performance he needed to live up to his personality outside the ring.
Arroyo now becomes the mandatory challenger to Rungvisai. That’s biting off a lot. Arroyo gave Cuadras a spirited fight, but Cuadras is not Rungvisai. Nevertheless, Arroyo said “I’m ready for the winner of the main event, and to prove I’m the best fighter in the division.” Fans may demand a rematch first, and if the arrangements can be made, Rungvisai vs. Estrada II may headline Superfly 3.
Donnie Nietes of the Philippines (41-1-4, 23 KOs) blew out his mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Reveco (39-4, 19 KOs) of Argentina with an impressive show of power to retain his IBF World Flyweight title in his first defense. Nietes is undefeated since 2004 with a 33 fight win streak.
Nietes took his time with Revoco, working careful but completely in control of the bout. At the very end of the sixth round, Nietes unleashed a vicious right hand at the bell. Revoco wobbled all the way back to his corner. The minute he had in the corner wasn’t enough to recover. Nietes went straight to work, unleashing multiple punches, and dropped Revoco to the canvas with a monster left hand. Although Revoco beat the count, his corner asked for the fight to be stopped at 53 seconds into the seventh round. Reveco left The Forum immediately to go to a local hospital for observation at the insistance of the ringside physician.
“I’m very proud to defend my title in front of all the great Filipino fans here in Los Angeles,” said Nietes. “I want the biggest fights either at this weight or to move up.” Nietes said he’d love a fight with Roman Gonzalez, and with Rungvisai.
On the non-televised undercard, American Brian Viloria and mandatory challenger Artem Dalakian of Ukraine put on a rough and tumble style fight to warm up fans at The Forum for the televised bouts. Dalakian (16-0, 11 KOs) scored a unanimous decision over Viloria (38-6, 22 KOs) to win the vacant WBA World Flyweight title and remain undefeated. All three judges scored it 119-109, although referee Dr. Lou Moret docked Dalakian a point in the ninth round for repeatedly holding down Viloria’s head.
Dalakian presented as an extremely awkward opponent, and try as he might, Viloria never really got his bearings or found the right rhythm against Dalakian. Viloria wobbled Dalakian with a solid right hand in the seventh, his best and perhaps his only significant moment in the fight. Dalakian began turning up the volume on his punch output in the final two rounds. In an unfortunate turn of events, Dalakian slammed his elbow into Viloria’s forehead, opening up a bleeding gash on Viloria’s forehead just below the hairline. Viloria’s cutman did what he could, but it bothered Viloria through the 12th round, and it was only through sheer will he managed to fight through it to the final bell.
Dalakian said he knew he was hurting Viloria. “I’m very proud to be the newest champion from Ukraine,” said Dalakian. “I loved fighting in the United States and I can’t wait to come back and fight in Los Angeles. I want to unify with any of the other champions.”
“It was a tough fight, real tough guy, kept his distance,” said Viloria. “I could never get inside like I wanted to. The head butt really made me woozy.” It was a tough loss for the 37-year-old fan favorite, and his supporters at The Forum booed the outcome.
Given the nature of this de facto tournament, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Dalakian matched up with Nietes in the near future.
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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