Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Defeats Kal Yafai to Win Junior Bantamweight World Title

Roman Gonzalez is once again a world title holder… 

The 32-year-old Nicaraguan professional boxer, known by his nickname “Chocolatito,” dominated Kal Yafai en route to a ninth-round demolition to take his junior bantamweight world title in the co-feature of the Mikey GarciaJessie Vargas card on Saturday night at The Ford Center at The Star, the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.

Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez

As an up-and-coming fighter, Yafai, who was making his sixth title defense and in the biggest fight of his career, idolized Gonzalez. He watched his fights and even traveled to them when he could. And now he can say he was battered by Gonzalez, who won a 115-pound world title for the second time and added to an already impressive legacy.

Gonzalez (49-2, 41 KOs), who has won world titles at strawweight, junior flyweight, flyweight and junior bantamweight, hadn’t been in the spotlight for the past couple of years following a pair of losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, some lower-profile bouts and a 15-month layoff caused by a knee injury that required surgery. 

But after getting healthy and winning a tune-up fight in Japan in December, he was ready to challenge Yafai for the title, and he dominated.

“I have God’s strength, and God gave me this title back,” Gonzalez said through an interpreter. “Everyone has the same blessing I got tonight. I always ask God for a blessing. I have a good team around me that brought me back. I thank Mr. [AkihikoHonda, [of Teiken Promotions],Eddie Hearn and DAZN. They gave me the opportunity to once again become a world champion.”

Juan Francisco Estrada Defeats Srisaket Sor Rungvisai to Capture WBC Junior Bantamweight Title

 Juan Francisco Estradais sporting a new belt…

The 29-year-old Mexican professional boxer defeated Srisaket Sor Rungvisai by unanimous decision to capture the WBC junior bantamweight title Friday night at the Forum in a rematch of last year’s battle that Sor Rungvisai won by majority decision.

Juan Francisco Estrada

All three judges scored the fight for Estrada, 116-112 and 115-113 (twice). ESPN also had the fight for Estrada 115-113.

It’s rare that a sequel lives up to a highly acclaimed original, but that’s precisely what happened in this anticipated rematch.

When the two fought in February 2018 in the same building, it was Sor Rungvisai (47-5-1, 41 KOs) who built an early lead on the strength of his left cross from a southpaw stance. Estrada (39-3, 26 KOs) closed hard down the stretch, but his rally came up short. Their back-and-forth battle was one of the best fights of the year.

On Friday night, the southpaw from Thailand started off in the orthodox stance and would only sporadically go back to his more natural left-handed stance.

“He surprised me a bit by that. Because he is always lefty, it surprised me that he was righty tonight,” Estrada said. “But I felt him out well when he fought right-handed.”

Estrada capitalized on that odd tactical decision from the outset to consistently beat Sor Rungvisai to the punch, while also boxing him adroitly from the outside.

There were plenty of heated exchanges where punches were landed by both, but it was Estrada usually coming out on top of those battles. Through it all, Estrada showed a good chin when he was hit by plenty of left hands from Sor Rungvisai. For the most part, Estrada shrugged them off.

Going into the later rounds, it was clear that Sor Rungvisai was behind on the cards, but he began to land more regularly on Estrada in Round 9. Going into the final round, it seemed like Estrada would have to seal the fight with one more strong round of work, which is precisely what he did in a three-minute stanza that was capped off by letting the punches fly with the fans on their feet.

“I needed to show the Mexican fans and everyone here tonight that I was going to win that belt,” said a joyous Estrada, who has cemented his status as an elite fighter.

So how bout Estrada-Sor Rungvisai III?

“If he wants a third fight, I will give it to him,” Estrada said. “I would prefer to fight some other champion first. That’s what I think is next.”

Juan Francisco Estrada Defeats Felipe Orucuta by Unanimous Decision

Juan Francisco Estrada is a deciding winner

The 28-year-old Mexican professional boxer, a former WBA and WBO Flyweight champion, defeated Felipe Orucuta at The Forum in Inglewood, California over the weekend by unanimous decision following a hotly contested 12-round bout.

Juan Francisco Estrada

The judges scored the fight 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111 for Estrada.

Orucuta (36-5, 30KOs) proved a much tougher opponent than expected. But Estrada (37-4, 25 KOs), after fading in the middle rounds, rallied down the stretch to win decisively, if not spectacularly.

“When two Mexicans are in the ring, you’re going to get a great fight,” Estrada said.

Estrada hopes the victory will earn him a rematch with junior bantamweight titleholder Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who beat Estrada by majority decision in February.

Obviously going for a quick win, Estrada abandoned his usual economical style over the first three rounds, winging wild punches with bad intention. Many missed, but he connected with enough to take all three rounds.

Orucuta began to work his way back into the fight in the fourth, landing his share of punches, but it wasn’t quite enough to take the round.

In the fifth, Estrada sent his adversary reeling backward with a hard right to the head near the end of the round. At that point, it seemed Estrada was on his way to an easy win; but that changed in the sixth, when Orucuta landed a hard left hook to the body, forcing Estrada into the ropes.

The underdog unleashed a two-handed flurry, and most of the punches landed cleanly, before Estrada extricated himself from the ropes. Suddenly, Estrada didn’t look like a sure shot.

The seventh was another good round for Orucuta when he got the better of several brutal exchanges in an action-packed round. The crowd that had been booing the bout earlier jumped to its feet, as the two fighters stood toe to toe.

Urged by his corner to keep pressing, Estrada gradually took over again. A cracking right to the head rocked Orucuta in the eighth, but he kept his feet under him and fought back.

Estrada finally showed the expertise that he is known for, sweeping the remaining rounds. He almost got the knockout he wanted in the 12th, when he chased Orucuta around the ring, landing flush punches to the head.

However, the final bell interrupted Estrada’s onslaught with his extremely durable opponent still on his feet.