LOS ANGELES, Calif., April 25, 2019 – Round 13, anyone? When a fight is so good and so close among top-level talent, it’s a must to see the participants back together in the ring again.
At the end of 12 thrilling rounds in February 2018, WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisikat Sor Rungvisai of Thailand (47-4-1, 39 KOs) prevailed by majority decision over Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada of Mexico (38-3-0, 26 KOs). Scores were 117-111, 115-113, and 114-114.
Fans could disagree about the outcome, but no one was disappointed after an action packed fight with the outcome in doubt down to the final bell. The result was nearly an afterthought. Both men have collected several more victories each since then. Now the much-anticipated rematch is hours away on Friday, April 26 at the scene of the first well received fight, the Forum in Inglewood. Fans should hurry home from work and settle in to watch on DAZN USA starting at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT. If you’ve been on the fence about paying for a DAZN subscription, time to make your move.
Rungvisai is the prototypical volume power puncher. Estrada is the skilled boxing tactician and counterpuncher. Rungvisai can knock anyone out, but Estrada can neutralize power because he can see a punch coming. Nevertheless, both are willing to stand toe to toe and fight. Estrada felt he won the first fight and channels his motivation for revenge preparing for the rematch.
Estrada says he is happy to be back in Los Angeles. At this week’s media workout, Estrada looked in peak physical condition. “My trainers did a great job getting me ready for the rematch and I feel ready to win this time. I am anxious. I can’t wait to step on the scale and get that challenge out of the way before Friday night.”
Prediction: Estrada gets his revenge in 12 hard rounds
Rungvisai has faced distractions from personal problems in the past year. While he won an easy decision in 12 rounds against Mexican Iran Diaz in October, he lacked the fire of his fights against Estrada and Roman Gonzalez. Rungvisai also appears to be in excellent condition, and once both men pass the test on the scale, fans are in for fireworks.
Now that the two have gotten acquainted with each other’s style in the ring, which one will able to apply what he’s learned? Rungvisai is a formidable puncher. You cannot make a mistake against him or you will pay the price. But Estrada now knows he needs to channel his aggressive style and choose his spots. He will be more cautious through the first half of the fight, and see what if any vulnerability presents itself. Estrada’s edge might be his desire to avenge this loss. He will have the predominantly Mexican-American crowd on his side. In a close fight, it can help. We’ll call this for Estrada in another close decision, and wait for Rungvisai vs. Estrada III.
Unification fight at super bantamweight: Roman vs. Doheny
In the co-main event, Daniel Roman fights in his hometown of Inglewood, California (26-2-1, 10 KOs) against T.J. Doheny of Australia via Ireland (21-0, 15 KOs) to unify the WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight World titles.
Roman says it’s a dream come true to be fighting for the titles at The Forum, the first step to becoming the undisputed champion at 122 pounds and his first fight back at home in three years. He recalled seeing the fight posters as a boy and always imagined fighting there someday.
“This is the fight I wanted,” said Roman. “I was looking to unify the first fight after winning the belt. I want the best in the division and for me that’s the champions. Finally, that’s happening and it’s in my backyard in Inglewood where I grew up, so I’m so excited.
“I never thought that I would fight in the Forum, and now I am and it’s as a World champion and in a unification fight, what more can I ask for? That’s given me even more motivation … I really never thought that I would fight here – but look at me now, the biggest fight of my career and it’s at The Forum – it’s what dreams are made of and I’m thrilled it’s happening.”
Roman thanked Doheny for taking the fight. Although they come from very different parts of the world, they understand what it’s like to grow up in tough neighborhoods and fight to find a way out. They respect each other and are looking forward to their bout.
“My prediction? Fireworks!” said Doheny. “It’s not my style to predict too much, but the fans can expect a great fight. I know Danny is going to bring it and you better believe that I am more than ready for anything he brings.
“We’re the top two guys in the division. He wants to unify, I want to unify, it’s what all the top champions should want to do. I keep saying – you win the world title and it’s a dream come true, but then you have got to raise the bar. Fair play to Danny for taking the unification on, it’s what the fans want, it’s what we both want, and it’s great for boxing. You want to unify the division and cement your name at the top.
“When Danny challenged me in the ring in New York he said he had a lot of respect for me as I won the World title in Japan like he did. We have a similar story, he’s a respectful guy, he’s a great fighter, he’s got a great punch selection and he’s in his hometown so he’s going to bring it – but he has to bring his best.
Roman has been quietly, steadily building up an impressive resume with solid performances. Roman’s team says he will make weight with ease, not always the case for veteran fighters in smaller weight divisions. Roman may not be known for knockouts, but he never lets off the gas, and wears down opponents. Doheny is taking a step up in opposition and equally determined.
Mano a mano: Jessie Vargas takes on Humberto Soto
The opening fight at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 pm PT features former two-division world champion Jessie Vargas (28-2-2, 10 KOs) moving up a division to 154 pounds to take on veteran Humberto Soto of Mexico (69-9-2, 37 KOs).
No one is happier to be fighting on Friday than Vargas. “I am happy to be back in the ring. Soto is a two-division World Champion, too. He is a veteran. We are two Mexican warriors and we are going to go to war on Friday night,” said Vargas.
Vargas, now being trained by Freddie Roach, says he wants a title in a third weight division and needs to take care of business against Soto. “Humberto is one of those tough Mexican fighters that never stops coming forward,” said Vargas. “He fights to the end a lot like me, so we’ll put on a great fight on a brilliant card. It could be the fight of the night. His fight with Brandon (Rios) was a good fight … He called me out straight after the win and I was happy to accept the fight.”
Soto (69-9-2, 37 KOs) wasn’t sure he’d be in position to win his 70th career victory until his improbable win over Brandon Rios in Tijuana, Mexico in February. The 38-year-old veteran says he and Vargas will deliver a classic.
“I am very grateful to Matchroom and DAZN for giving me another chance to accomplish my dreams in the ring,” said the veteran Soto. “I think this Friday the fans will be the winners, not me or Jessie Vargas. We are going to put on a show. I will leave it all in the ring on Friday night.”
Soto still has good speed at age 38, but at age 28, Vargas believes he is sharper and has more power. Vargas has fought to majority draws in his last two bouts against Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme. Soto is also moving up a division for this fight. Expect both men to mix it up and deliver the goods.
DAZN televised undercard feature tests for ambitious prospects
The televised undercard begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. on DAZN with three fights before the main card.
Unbeaten young super middleweight Anthony Sims Jr. of Indiana (18-0, 17 KOs) takes on Vaughn Alexander of St. Louis (14-2, 9 KOs) in a 10-round fight. Sims Jr., age 24, has been steadily building his resume and steps up in opposition for this fight. Alexander, brother of Devon Alexander, restarted his career after being incarcerated for over a decade. He picked up and maintained his undefeated record until last year, suffering two defeats. Alexander is rebuilding and riding a two-fight winning streak. The clock is ticking on the 33-year-old Alexander.
Shakhram Giyasov of Uzbekistan (7-0, 6 KOs) fights Emanuel Taylor of Baltimore (20-5, 14 KOs) in 10 rounds at super lightweight. His fellow Uzbek countryman Murodjon Akmadaliev (5-0, 4 KOs) faces Mexican Carlos Carlson (23-5, 14 KOs) in an eight round featherweight bout.
Boxers from the Golden Boy Boxing stable hope to entertain their California fans. Argentinian Olympian Alberto Melian (4-0, 3 KOs) fights cagey challenger Isaac Zarate of Los Angeles (16-4-3 2 KOs). Former world title challenger Ronnie Rios from nearby Santa Ana, California (29-3, 13 KOs) looks for a win against Daniel Olea of Mexico. (13-7-2 5 KOs).
Also on the card, 18-year-old Los Angeles native Diego Pacheco (2-0, 1 KO) fights at home against Guillermo Maldonado (1-0). Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams makes his highly anticipated pro debut against Joe Guevara (3-4-1 2 KOs).
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 Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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