WBC super-flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada rose from a third-round knockdown before gunning down Mexican rival Carlos Cuadras in the 11th round of an enthralling rematch at the Gimnasio TV Azteca in Mexico City on Friday night.
In September 2017, Estrada eked out a one-point victory on all three cards against his fellow Mexican, with a 10th round knockdown proving decisive. The champion had promised a faster start in their rematch but was dropped in the third by a right uppercut and left hook combination.
By the fifth, Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs) had shed his usual counter-punching style and engaged in an outright war, leaving Cuadras wilting with a series of hurtful left uppercuts. The challenger, never previously stopped, was badly winded by a left hook to the body in the sixth, but bloodied Estrada’s nose in riposte.
Cuadras (39-4-1, 27 KOs) dug in gamely, unleashing a sustained body attack in the 10th and opening a gaping cut over Estrada’s left eye. But just 12 seconds into the 11th, Estrada downed a tiring Cuadras with a hefty left hook and sensed the finish.
A right hand sent Cuadras face first onto the canvas for a second knockdown as Estrada tore away relentlessly. Cuadras gamely rose again before the referee intervened with the challenger under furious fire and his arms dangling low.
Estrada’s victory paved the way for a long-awaited 2021 rematch with Nicaraguan maestro Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs) who eclipsed mandatory challenger Israel Gonzalez (25-4, 11 KOs) on the same show. Scores were 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.
The WBA Super 115lbs champion was in fine form, dominating the younger Mexican with his mastery of angles and timeless speed and aggression. The duo slugged it out in the fourth, but Chocolatito’s championship nous eventually took over as the challenger’s workrate dipped.
The Nicaraguan’s pressure and persistence saw him emerge a handy winner and well placed to face Estrada again, almost eight years after decisioning the Mexican in a WBA light-flyweight title bout in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez made light work of late substitute Moises Calleros, crushing his fellow Mexican in the second round.
Calleros had missed the weight by 5 ½ pounds at Thursday’s weigh-in and was not eligible to win the title, but the extra poundage did him few favours as he was effortlessly brushed aside.
A surging Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs & 1 NC) scored an official knockdown with a left hand in the opening round after Calleros touched the canvas with his right glove. The champion switched stances and outfoxed Calleros (33-10-1, 17 KOs) in the second before sending his compatriot into the ropes with a heavy right hand. Calleros was battered on the ropes until the referee intervened.
Main image: Estrada punishes Cuadras. Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom USA.