Round 13: Rungvisai vs Estrada preview

Callum Rudge
25/04/2019 11:59pm

Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images; John McCoy/Getty Images

GettyImages 1070255428Callum Rudge previews Friday night's dynamite super-flyweight rematch between WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada...

This Friday sees the slightly delayed reunion of two evenly matched super flyweights when WBC and lineal super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai takes on de-facto number 1 contender Juan Francisco Estrada at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

Friday’s bout is a rematch of February 2018’s competitive majority decision victory for the Thai champion in the main event of what was a showcase evening for the 115lbs division. The first contest was an incredibly close fought with one judge having it a 114-114 draw only to be overruled with cards of 115-113 and an inexplicably wide 117-111 for the victor, Rungvisai.

Since then the two fighters have had to tick over with keep busy fights, with Rungvisai successfully defending his title in his homeland of Thailand with a first-round stoppage of the overmatched South Korean Young Gil Bae and a unanimous decision victory against Iran Diaz. Meanwhile Mexico's Estrada has had to make do with Felipe Orcuta (UD12)  and Victor Mendez (TKO 7) while waiting for his opportunity for revenge.

This fight has landed at a strange time for the super flyweight division with Nicaraguan legend Roman Gonzalez in the final stages of his career and Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue having moved up in weight to compete in the World Boxing Super Series at bantamweight. While there are still good fighters in the weight class, it is fair to say that it has lost a lot of its star power. All of this has happened alongside the decline of HBO Boxing which had done excellent work in showcasing the division before the network closed its boxing wing.

Looking at Friday’s bout, this will be very much Round 13 of their first contest, with Estrada using his fast hands and feet to box at range while Rungvisai looks to use his superior size and power to physically dominate the naturally smaller man.

Weight could be a big factor here, Rungvisai is an absolute monster at super fly and looked a couple of divisions bigger than Estrada in the first fight. While you would expect Rungvisai to have issues at the weight he was comfortable at it just six months ago before his defence vs Diaz and has said that he will be at “more than 100 per cent” going into the fight.

Estrada will just be happy to be healthy going into this match-up, as he cited knee, neck and spine issues as hindering his performance last time. He will hope that having an injury free training camp will give him the extra mobility to avoid Rungvisai’s shots and win a title in a second weight division.

In the first fight Estrada got off to quick start and will need to do so again this time around using his superior boxing skills to out manoeuvre the 32-year-old Thai. Rungvisai will follow the same blueprint that got him the 'W' last time out, namely walk the smaller man down, land his big shots and, if possible, look to put the exclamation mark on this rivalry with a stoppage win.

I’ve gone back and forth with this one, Rungvsai at 32 is quite old for a super flywieght (Estrada is three years younger) and has reportedly had personal issues out of the ring but my pick is for him to retain once again with a late stoppage to end this absorbing rivalry once and for all.