INGLEWOOD, Calif., September 8, 2018 – By the closing bell, Juan Francisco Estrada of Sonora, Mexico and opponent Felipe Orcuta, also of Mexico, delivered what the 4,019 fans at The Forum in Los Angeles came to see: Super flyweight action with a Mexican flavor. “When two Mexicans are in the ring, you’re going to get a great fight,” Estrada said.
Estrada (37-4, 25 KOs) picked up right where he left off in Superfly 2, delivering an entertaining fight on the way to a solid unanimous decision over Orucuta (36-5, 30 KOs). Scores were 118-110, and 117-111 X 2. Despite the scorecards, the underdog Orucuta came in with the right attitude on ‘nothing to lose.” He was more than willing to engage with Estrada, and ended up being a far trickier opponent than expected. It made for a fun fight to watch.
Estrada is known as a slow starter, and after eating several good punches from Orucuta, decided to be cautious. With the crowd cheering him on, and the desire to get a knockout win, Estrada kicked into gear midway through the fight. The seventh round found the two trading wicked head shots from right and left, with the crowd flinching after every blow. It joins the shortlist for Round of the Year.
From that point on, Estrada had the fight in hand – but not signed and sealed. Orucuta still managed to keep it interesting by getting Estrada’s attention along with the fans with well placed shots. But there weren’t enough, and it would have taken a stoppage to prevail. The good news for Orucuta is that while he didn’t win, he won over the Los Angeles boxing fans, and they’ll be happy to see his name on the bout sheet again.
After the bout, Estrada called Orucuta “a greater fighter … He’s strong, he’s got long range. It was difficult to fight him.”
Estrada says he’s ready to take on the top man in the division, Srisikat Sor Rungvisai of Thailand. “Hopefully that fight will happen soon,” said Estrada. Promoter Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions is apparently aiming for a “Superfly 4” back at The Forum early in 2019. Let’s hope the matchup can be made.
Palicte denies Nietes his fifth title with a split draw result
Observers expected Donnie Nietes of the Philippines (41-1-5, 23 KOs) to walk away with his fifth title, the vacant WBO super flyweight belt, via a masterful technical performance over fellow Filipino Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20 KOs). But sometimes the opponent has other ideas. The bout ended in a surprising split draw, with scores of 116-112 for Palicte, 118-110 for Nietes, and 114-114 on the third card.
Nietes and Palicte didn’t always keep the attention of fans, some of whom grew a little restless in The Forum and began making their feelings known. Nietes felt no need to do anything reckless against Palicte, who is a decade younger and who was eager to show what he could do. Palicte turned out to be a surprisingly patient, smart opponent. So Nietes fought smart, but he failed to fight hard enough to make enough of an impression. You can forget the boo-birds when you walk away with your fifth title, but Nietes should now process what the fans were telling him. Was he struggling at the higher weight? Was his age showing? Nietes is among the older fighters in the smaller divisions, and age can creep up.
It seemed more a matter of Nietes taking Palicte a little too lightly, letting off the gas and coasting through rounds thinking he had things in hand. Let this be a lesson to other fighters not to take any scorecard for granted.
“Of course I won the fight,” said a disappointed Nietes. “I dealt with his reach, I hurt him, and I controlled the fight. I wanted to unify. Now I can’t even leave the ring with my belt.”
Palicte also saw it his way. “It was a close fight, but I thought I won it in the first half of the fight. I threw more punches and landed more punches. He came on in the last few rounds. Let’s do it again, anytime.”
Palicte no doubt learned a lot from going 12 solid rounds with Nietes, and it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on him to see how he’s absorbed those lessons in his next few fights. He has all the physical tools to be successful and he would join a long list of young boxers who went forward to great things after testing himself against a veteran.
Ioka impresses in return to the ring, scoring UD over Arroyo
Kazuto Ioka of Japan (23-1, 13 KOs) made the right call coming out of retirement and moving up a division for Saturday’s fight against McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico (17-4, 14 KOs). Ioka won a definitive unanimous decision, with scores of 99-91 and 97-92 X 2 over Arroyo. Ioka’s win lent some much needed flair to the lineup without the presence of Srisikat Sor Rungvisai, Naoya Inoue, or even Roman Gonzalez.
The 39-year-old Ioka looked fresher from the opening bell, not at all like someone who hadn’t been in the ring for a year and a half. He got off to the busier start. Near the end of the third round, Ioka dropped Arroyo with a right hand, but had no time to follow it up. Arroyo made a good recovery, but Aoki continued to stalk him and landed several more vicious shots including good body punches in the fourth round.
Ioka wasn’t going completely unscathed. Arroyo has an excellent jab and it did some damage, along with a superb left hand and a shot right before the bell. But he showed a good chin, taking Arroyo’s best extremely well.
Ioka began wearing Arroyo down by the middle rounds, outclassing Arroyo with skills, speed, and impressive punching accuracy – but not completely shutting him down. Credit Arroyo’s effort for turning was might have been a lopsided contest into a fun fight for the fans to watch.
Ioka said it was Superfly 2 that inspired him to return to boxing, saying as he watched ringside that night, he knew he could be victorious against any of the fighters in the series. Ioka was right. Credit his preparation working in Las Vegas with trainer Ismael Salas as a significant contribution to the victory. “We had a great game plan and executed it to perfection,” said Ioka.
With a likely Superfly 4 set for early spring, how about putting Ioka in front of Nietes, despite him not having a belt to offer up? These two veteran champions would square off nicely in this division.
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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