Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez Knocks Out Juan Francisco Estrada to Win WBC Junior Bantamweight Title

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez has a new belt..

The 24-year-old Mexican American professional boxer knocked out Juan Francisco Estrada in the seventh round to win the WBC junior bantamweight title on at the Footprint Center in Phoenix in a candidate for fight of the year.

Jesse "Bam" RodriguezRodriguez (20-0, 13 KOs), who entered the fight as a -550 favorite, per ESPN BET, had Estrada in trouble in Round 3 after landing a right uppercut.

Estrada recovered well in the third, but in Round 4, Rodriguez knocked him down with a perfectly thrown left uppercut, straight left combination.

Rodriguez kept landing his punches in the next round, all set up by his lead jab.

Another straight left pushed Estrada to the ropes, and the uppercut and left hand kept landing flush. Rodriguez’s speed and power were superior to Estrada’s.

Though Rodriguez appeared to be in total control, Estrada, 34, dropped him in the sixth round with a straight right hand set up by two lead jabs. Rodriguez recovered well and continued landing his left hand and right uppercut.

With just seconds to go in Round 7, Rodriguez landed a left hook to the body that sent Estrada to the canvas. Estrada was visibly in pain and couldn’t recover in time.

“I got him with a good body shot,” Rodriguez said during the postfight interview. “I saw the way he was rolling on the floor. I knew that was it.

“I thought he was going to get back up, so I was already mentally prepared to go on to the next round, but I mean he stayed down and that was it.”

At the time of the stoppage, Estrada was ahead 57-56 on one of the scorecards, while Rodriguez was up 58-54 on another and the third judge had the fight even.

This was Rodriguez’s first victory of 2024 and the second time he won the WBC belt at 115 pounds. Estrada fought for the first time since his trilogy fight against future Hall of Famer Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in December 2022, a career-long 18-month layoff.

Estrada (44-4, 28 KOs) was riding an eight-fight winning streak. The last time he lost a fight before Saturday was more than six years ago, a majority decision to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in February 2018 that he avenged one year later.

Estrada could have one more big fight in him. The future Hall of Famer has a rematch clause and said after the fight that he was going to exercise that option.

“I know the mistakes that I made in there and I want the rematch,” Estrada said. “So we’ll take that rematch and there’s no doubt we’ll win that rematch.”

Rodriguez is knocking at the door of the pound-for-pound top 10 list. He said after the fight he plans to stay at junior bantamweight and try to unify the titles against the winner of the unification fight between Fernando Martinez and Kazuto Ioka on July 7 in Japan.

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