What did we learn from this packed weekend of boxing action?
Estrada makes his argument for a pound-for-pound spot
Juan Francisco Estrada ripped Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s WBC super flyweight title away from him on Friday night, with “El Gallo” stating his claim for a break into the pound-for-pound top 10.
Sor Rungvisai appeared to get his tactics wrong in the early stages of the fight, with an orthodox stance getting picked off by the challenger at range. Estrada’s jab was causing the Thai champion endless trouble, with Sor Rungvisai throwing bombs at clean air, failing to get in the pocket.
A switch to his typical southpaw stance in the championship rounds made the fight more competitive, but the damage was already done; Estrada kept his composure throughout the twelve rounds.
It was an impressive win for Estrada, who catapults himself into the conversation for a spot at the summit of the sport. Sor Rungvisai experienced a similar climb when he dethroned Roman Gonzalez in 2017, so it’s only fair that the WBC, Ring Magazine and lineal super flyweight champion experiences similar recognition. It would be a push to put Estrada anywhere near the top five, but he’s certainly worth keeping an eye on over the next couple of years at a peak age of 29.
Daniel Dubois shows faith in his chin
Daniel Dubois chose to fight fire with fire in his Wembley Arena showdown with Richard Lartey on Saturday night. The 21-year-old heavyweight engaged in an exciting four rounds, before dropping and stopping the Ghanaian who was looking for one lucky swing from the second round onwards.
It was another sign that Dubois is ready for a step up in the heavyweight division. Taking a few licks from the flamboyant challenger proved he can rely on his chin as he ventures into deeper waters; a domestic fight against Nathan Gorman or Joe Joyce is expected for later this year, with Frank Warren’s stable of heavys growing well.
Dubois is still a baby in his life as a professional boxer. Sensible management and matchmaking could see “Dynamite” explode into the world championship scene in 18 months time.
Roman vs Doheny exceeds expectations
We were treated to a super bantamweight unification thriller on the Sor Rungvisai-Estrada undercard. Daniel Roman and TJ Doheny left everything in the ring in a 12-round war, with Roman edging out the Irishman in a majority decision having dropped the former IBF champion twice in the fight.
Doheny boxed well off the back foot in the opening rounds, but was caught in his tracks by a Roman left hook in the second round which sent the Irishman to the canvas. Doheny showed guts in battling back into the fight, frustrating Roman from a southpaw stance, but a second knockdown in the eleventh round proved the difference in the eventual decision.
Doheny proved his worth at the top of the super bantamweight division, and without two knockdowns bookending this fight, the 32-year-old would have a case to be named unified champion. Roman emphasised his strengths throughout the fight, with vicious body shots his signature attack.
A photo of the pair backstage surfaced following this war; a fight for the boxing purists, with respect from the opening to the final bell.
#RomanDoheny delivered right to the end – total respect! pic.twitter.com/iXSA41EEwE
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) April 27, 2019
Prograis and Donaire ease into the WBSS finals
Regis Prograis and Nonito Donaire produced stunning performances in Lafayette on Saturday night, moving them both into the finals of their respective World Boxing Super Series tournaments.
Nonito Donaire’s resurgence at the top level hasn’t been without a slice of good fortune. A win over the heavily favoured Ryan Burnett due to retirement through injury in the quarter-final was followed by a last minute withdrawal of Zolani Tete in the semi-final, being replaced by Stephon Young inside the Cajundome. A stunning one-punch sixth round knockout proved the difference for “The Filipino Flash” as he moves into the final against Naoya Inoue or Emmanuel Rodríguez.
Regis Prograis’s progression has been a little more predictable. “Rougarou” blasted through Kiryl Relikh in a dominant six rounds, using his powerful left hand to great use to the Belarussian’s head and body. Relikh had no answer to the 30-year-old fighting out of New Orleans, scooping the WBA light-welterweight title in the process. A potential fight against Josh Taylor for the light-welterweight Ali Trophy has the potential to be one of the fights of the year.
@RPrograis: “I’m The F***ing Real Deal!” @WBSuperSeries #PrograisRelikh pic.twitter.com/7uhJtL8OwT
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) April 28, 2019
Joshua’s June 1 opponent imminent, with Andy Ruiz Jr the front runner
Amongst the media scrum of Friday night’s Matchroom show in Los Angeles, Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn alluded to an imminent announcement regarding Miller’s replacement on June 1.
If we are to believe the reports, heavyweights have been dropping like flies since “Big Baby’s” triple-threat of failed tests. Big-money offers have supposedly been proposed to an array of heavys, with Michael Hunter and Andy Ruiz Jr leading the race for a shot at the unified heavyweight straps.
Claiming Joshua wants a challenger that will “come and fight, believing they can knock out the champion,” as opposed to taking a huge payday and getting sparked early, Hunter and Ruiz’s hunger to shock the world has clearly caught the attention of Team Joshua. Trevor Bryan has also been listed as the third realistic possibility.
Ruiz Jr lost a contentious decision to Joseph Parker in 2016 for the vacant WBO title. He’s won his following three fights having taken some time out of the ring following his loss to the New Zealander, but with his short stature and quick hands, the American poses a challenge to Joshua which will raise a certain level of intrigue. An opponent on six weeks notice is never going to be ideal, but Ruiz Jr may well turn out to make the best out of a bad situation.