Rungvisai Wins Close Decision over Estrada in Fight of the Year Candidate
Published: February 25, 2018
INGLEWOOD, CA – It is typical in most forms of sports and entertainment for a sequel to not live up to the original. For every “The Empire Strikes Back” there is a “Speed 2: Cruise Control”. Luckily, for boxing fans, the sequel to HBO’s “SuperFly” may have surpassed the original. In the main event for the WBC and Ring Magazine lineal super flyweight championships, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40 KOs) took on Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada (36-3, 25 KOs).
Needless to say, the bout more than lived up to the hopes of boxing fans as the two men put on one of the best fights of the year in a tightly contested contest. The bout featured many back and forth swing rounds that could have been scored for either fighter. Through the first six rounds, it seemed that Rungvisai had an advantage in landed power punches and overall punch volume, however, Estrada was arguably landing the cleaner punches. The momentum began to change in the second half of the fight starting with the eighth round as Estrada began to push the initiative more landing hard right-hand counters, uppercuts and left hooks. By the time the championship rounds came, it was unclear if Estrada needed a knockout to gain a victory over the tough Thai fighter.
The 12th round of Rungvisai-Estrada can be put into a time capsule as one of the best rounds of the year. Both men came out swinging throwing hard power punches. However, Estrada was frequently landing vicious right hands and left hooks on an oncoming Rungvisai. The Thai fighter never stopped coming forward, applying pressure in all twelve rounds. When the final bell rang, fans knew they had witnessed something special. The question left after twelve rounds of action was if Estrada had done enough work in the second half of the fight to win a decision?
The judges sided with the Thai fighter giving Rungvisai a majority decision victory with scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 117-111. The win makes Rungvisai the lineal and number one super flyweight in the world. Rungvisai landed 194 out of 879 total punches at a 22 percent connect rate. Estrada landed 189 out of 671 total punches at a 28 percent connect rate.
Before fans left the arena, the drums were being beaten for an immediate rematch between Rungvisai and Estrada. Many fans thought the Mexican fighter did enough to earn a victory. According to Tom Loeffler of 360 promotions, who was the lead promoter in putting together both “SuperFly” shows, a rematch between Rungvisai and Estrada could headline the third edition of “SuperFly” later this year.
The main supporting bout on the telecast featured the return of Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo (17-3, 14 KOs) taking on Mexico’s Carlos Cuadras (36-3-1, 27 KOs). Arroyo had been out of the ring for almost two years with his last appearance being a loss to former super flyweight kingpin Roman Gonzalez in April 2016. This fight was the first for Cuadras with new trainer Abel Sanchez, who is best known for training middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
Arroyo surprised many in the boxing world by winning a close majority decision over Cuadras. The scorecards were 95-95, 98-92 and 97-93 in favor of Arroyo.
(Feature Photo: HBO Boxing)