Juan Francisco Estrada is preparing for a triology…
The 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer is expected to meet Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez on December 3 in a trilogy bout for the junior bantamweight championship, promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing has announced.
No location for the fight was revealed.
This is the third time the third fight between Estrada and Gonzalez has been scheduled. The future Hall of Famers were set to square off in October 2021 before Gonzalez tested positive for COVID-19. A March bout was postponed after Estrada contracted the coronavirus.
Estrada returned Saturday to his native Mexico with a tougher-than-expected decision victory over Argi Cortes to retain the WBC franchise championship at 115 pounds. Now, Estrada heads into the rubber match with Gonzalez, a rivalry that began 10 years ago.
Gonzalez (51-3, 41 KOs) scored a unanimous-decision victory over Estrada in 2012 to retain a 108-pound title. Estrada (43-3, 28 KOs) exacted a measure of revenge in the March 2021 rematch at 115 pounds, but the split-decision win was marred by controversy. They combined for 2,529 punches in the return bout that was ESPN’s runner-up for fight of the year.
“When you talk about great rivalries over the years, this is right up there,” Hearn told ESPN last year. “Fight 1 was a classic, and Fight 2 was probably the best I have ever seen live. The decider will be historic.”
After Estrada withdrew from the rematch, Gonzalez went on to defeat 112-pound champion Julio Cesar Martinez in March in yet another master-class performance for the 35-year-old Nicaraguan.
Estrada, who relinquished his WBA title last month, is ESPN’s No. 1 junior bantamweight. Gonzalez, who was long recognized as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, is No. 2.
The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer, the WBA strawweight and WBO junior flyweight champion, has left Golden Boy and signed a multiyear deal with Top Rank.
Estrada is the second female fighter to sign with Top Rank, joining Mikaela Mayer, who signed a three-year contract extension earlier this year.
“It’s awesome,” Estrada told ESPN. “It’s like, I’m excited to get back in the ring.”
Estrada’s first Top Rank fight will be later this year, with the possibility of being in November. She said her contract is similar in finances to that of Mayer, who signed a deal for seven figures over the length of the agreement.
Estrada said she and Mayer talked a lot about the financial side of their contracts — a first for Estrada in speaking with another fighter — and it gave her comfort in what she was asking for.
Mayer and Estrada have become friendly in recent months — Mayer even convinced Estrada to join Twitter in April — and now the two will be the main women’s faces for the same boxing promotion.
Money, Estrada said, was part of this. Golden Boy had been her initial high-level promoter and she had done well there, reaching a 22-0 record with nine knockouts — including a seven-second knockout of Miranda Adkins on July 24, 2020 that was the fastest in women’s boxing history.
Estrada, originally from East Los Angeles, had been an active fighter for much of her pro career other than longer breaks during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Estrada had hoped to be in the ring earlier this year — she was going to fight in August — but terms couldn’t be agreed upon.
Estrada said part of the reason for her departure from Golden Boy was “I wanted more money, what I felt I deserved.”
Estrada said she also spoke with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom Boxing when she sought a new promoter and almost went with the United Kingdom-based boxing promotion.
Hearn had given her a competitive offer, Estrada said, and the chance to main event and co-main event on DAZN cards. But Estrada said the Top Rank offer made more sense for her — in part because of the platform her fights would be on due to the deal between Top Rank and ESPN.
“Just the whole platform wise and exposure wise would be so much better for me so besides them giving me what I was happy with,” Estrada said. “Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. I’m excited about it.”
Estrada is also the rare women’s fighter who has fought a three-minute round fight as a professional — her technical decision win over Marlen Esparza on November 2, 2019 was a 10-round, three-minute-per-round contest that was stopped after the ninth round due to a cut Esparza suffered as part of an accidental head butt.
Estrada said Top Rank has told her she will often be the main event or co-main event on cards she is on. She also offers the promotion another chance to build fights in Los Angeles, where the No. 6 pound-for-pound fighter in ESPN’s ratings is a draw both because of her Mexican American heritage and because she grew up in and still lives in the area. The 5-foot-2 Estrada has fought 17 of her fights in California.
“That’s definitely something that they want, so I’m happy with that,” Estrada said. “Especially in L.A., they want to put on more shows here in L.A. and knowing that I’m from here, they are hoping I can be able to sell.
“…In L.A., definitely, yeah. I would like to get the chance to show that. That would be great.”
The 22-year-old Mexican American professional boxer will defend his WBC super flyweight versus Israel Gonzalez in the chief support bout to Canelo Alvarez–Gennadiy Golovkin 3 on September 17 in Las Vegas, Matchroom Boxing announced Monday.
Rodriguez (16-0 11 KOs) scored the biggest win of his budding career last month with an eight-round TKO of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Rungvisai owns wins over future Hall of Famers Roman Gonzalez (“Chocolatito“) and Juan Francisco Estrada, and Bam Rodriguez was able to pick him apart at 22 years old in a star-making performance.
The victory followed a decision win over Carlos Cuadras in February when Rodriguez, who fights out of San Antonio, captured the WBC title. (Estrada is the franchise champion.)
“Having the chance to fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend as the co-main to Canelo-GGG is truly special, and I plan on putting on another spectacular performance and continuing to build my legacy,” said Rodriguez, ESPN‘s No. 3 junior bantamweight. “Each fight now is more important than the last. It’s not about just winning; it’s how you win. That’s mine and my coach Robert Garcia‘s job now; to look sensational each and every time we step in the ring and continue to show the world that I am one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.”
Gonzalez, who fights out of Mexico, has lost in each of his world title challenges. He was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in 2018 and outpointed by Kal Yafai later that year. Most recently, Gonzalez (28-4-1 11 KOs) dropped a unanimous decision to Chocolatito in 2020.
“I want to thank the champ Jesse Rodriguez for the opportunity,” said Gonzalez, 25. “I know I’ll take full advantage of this and make my dream come true of becoming a world champion.”
Amanda Serrano is returning to the ring this summer…
The 33-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler will once again share a fight card with Jake Paul when they fight on August 6 at Madison Square Garden in what they’re labeling “two main events.”
The fights will be on Showtime Pay Per View. It’s the second straight fight for Serrano at MSG and Paul’s first in the iconic venue.
Serrano will fight at featherweight, where she’ll defend her WBO and WBC belts for the first time since her August 29, 2021 fight against Yamileth Mercado.
Serrano, one of two clients of Paul’s management and promotional company, Most Valuable Promotions, last fought on April 30 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in a fight considered one of the best in women’s boxing history in a split-decision loss to Katie Taylor for the undisputed lightweight championship.
This will be the fourth fight for Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KO) attached to Paul. She first fought as the co-main event on Paul’s first fight against Tyron Woodley last August.
She signed with his promotional company a month later and fought as the co-main event on Paul’s second fight against Woodley in December.
She then fought Taylor in April, which was co-promoted by Paul and Eddie Hearn from Matchroom Boxing.
There was thinking that Serrano’s next fight would be a rematch against Taylor in Ireland later this year — Serrano and Paul both said they would be open to it immediately after the April fight — but Hearn told multiple outlets in the past couple of weeks that such a fight would not take place in Ireland in the immediate future.
Paul (5-0, 4 KO) last fought in December, knocking out Woodley. He said he was going to take a break after fighting four times in 13 months between November 2020 and December 2021, then announced an August return to the ring the day after Serrano fought Taylor at MSG in April.
“Back in the gym, back to training and excited, more excited and motivated than ever,” Paul told ESPN back in March. “You know, that was Chapter 1 of my boxing career, that was my rookie season, and now I get to go on another chapter here.”
Paul had initially said he was returning to the ring on August 13, but has now moved it up a week.
Amanda Serrano is ready to take part in the biggest fight in women’s boxing history.
The 33-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, a seven-division world titlist, will face undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor.
The bout between Taylor and Serrano, ESPN‘s No. 1 and No. 2 in the pound-for-pound rankings, has been scheduled for April 30.
They will headline a card in one of the most iconic boxing venues in the world, the main arena of Madison Square Garden. It is the first women’s boxing match in history to headline at MSG.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible, but for this fight to headline at Madison Square Garden would truly be the pinnacle of the sport,” Taylor told ESPN recently. “So much of boxing’s history is linked to MSG, and I’ve been fortunate enough to fight there already on a couple of occasions.
“It’s such an iconic venue so to be part of the first ever women’s fight to main event there would be truly special.”
This fight has been talked about for years — and booked in the past before falling apart. Now, though, with a major venue, a headline attraction and major paydays for both fighters, it is locked into happening.
Both fighters knew the possibility was coming in December, before they won their last fights of 2021. Taylor won a unanimous decision over Firuza Sharipova on Dec. 11 and a week later, Serrano picked up a unanimous decision against Miriam Gutierrez.
Now, Taylor (19-0, 6 KO), 35, and Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KO) will end up in the ring against each other.
“It is the megafight for women’s boxing,” Serrano said after she beat Gutierrez. “You have pound-for-pound top three, however you look at it.”
It’s a long way from when Serrano’s sister, Cindy, lost to Taylor in a unanimous decision in Boston in 2018. The paydays then were much smaller. It is expected to be the biggest payout of Amanda Serrano’s career on the biggest stage as well as the largest payday in women’s boxing history.
“After the Katie Taylor fight, I’ll be able to sit down and say, ‘This is what boxing has done for me,'” Serrano told ESPN. “And be comfortable.”
It’s also a fight between two of the latest pioneers in the sport. Taylor, when she was 15, fought in the first sanctioned women’s boxing match in Ireland. After turning pro in 2016, working with Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom Boxing, Taylor helped push women’s boxing into the mainstream.
Serrano, who for years had been considered one of the best knockout fighters in the sport, received even more attention and notoriety over the past six months among a broader base of fans after she began fighting as the co-main events of Jake Paul‘s last two fights.
The fight, which will be put on by Matchroom Boxing and Paul and Nakisa Bidarian‘s Most Valuable Promotions, could be a boon for women’s boxing, which has been trying to get more in the conversation of mainstream sports. It’s also being announced almost two years to the day after Paul fought his first pro fight — on the same undercard as Serrano.
“We need to do more big fights like this for women,” Paul told ESPN last month. “What I’m excited about is using my creative ability to tell a story about why people should care about Amanda Serrano, specifically, but also women’s boxing and also this fight against Katie Taylor.
“Because people should care, and people do care. A lot of people care but I think a lot more women should care and a lot more people in general should care.”
The rematch is one of two 126-pound title bouts Matchroom Boxing‘s Eddie Hearn will promote on DAZN in the U.K. that month. On March 12, Leigh Wood defends his title against Michael Conlan.
The pair of bouts could lead to a unification later in the year.
Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs) scored a highlight-reel sixth-round TKO of Kid Galahad in November in one of the year’s biggest upsets.
When they met in 2017, Warrington (30-1-1, 7 KOs) scored a majority decision victory over Martinez. The fighters were moving in different directions; Warrington, an Englishman, went on to win a featherweight title and scored wins over Carl Frampton, Galahad and Lee Selby. Martinez, meanwhile, suffered losses to Gary Russell Jr., and Zelfa Barrett.
But the 2021 campaign drastically altered their trajectories. Warrington, 31, suffered a stunning ninth-round TKO loss to Mauricio Lara in February in a brutal beating before the September rematch ended in a technical draw after two rounds due to an accidental clash of heads that left Lara with a gruesome cut.
Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.
Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.
The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.
Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden BoyPromotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.
The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.
Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.
Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.
Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will get the chance to earn another title…
The 32-year-old Nicaraguan professional boxer, the first boxer from Nicaragua to win world titles in four weight classes,will challenge junior bantamweight world titlist Kal Yafai on February 29 (DAZN) at the Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys training facility in Frisco, Texas, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has announced.
The fight will be on the card headlined by the previously announced Mikey Garcia–Jessie Vargaswelterweight fight.
The WBAissued a resolution on Tuesday that cleared the way for the fight, which interim titlist and mandatory challenger Andrew Moloneyobjected to and had attorney Pat Englishwrite to the sanctioning body to assert his rights. He knocked out Miguel Gonzalezin March in an official eliminator, which the WBA had ruled would give the winner the next shot at Yafai following a defense against Norbelto Jimenez, whom he easily outpointed in June, no later than March 22.
However, the WBA ignored that ruling in its resolution ultimately writing “the WBA has express authority to modify applicable defense periods and otherwise suspend application of various rules under a special permit. Yafai’s special permit request is conditionally granted subject to his compliance with all other WBA rules, regulations, payment of all applicable fees and the following condition: The winner of Yafai/Gonzalez, or Yafai if a draw, must face Moloney as a mandatory defense within 120 days of said bout.”
English wrote back to the WBA to protest the decision, explaining that Moloney (21-0, 14 KOs), 29, of Australia, had twice turned down offers to challenge IBF titlist Jerwin Ancajasas well as a title eliminator in another organization because of his loyalty to the WBA, for whom he has fought in numerous regional title bouts as well as the title eliminator.
“This application (for Yafai-Gonzalez) has no merit whatsoever,” English wrote to the WBA. “It asks the WBA to violate solemn commitments to Mr. Moloney, both written and verbal. It would injure Mr. Moloney, a fighter who showed his loyalty to the WBA by turning down title bouts and elimination bouts in other organizations. If granted it would make a mockery of the mandatory system. It would be an insult to a country whose sole boxing champion is Andrew Moloney at a time when Australia is beset by terrible tragedy due to unprecedented wildfires. Further, the bout which is requested by Matchroom is an undercard bout, not a bout of ‘great significance’ to the boxing world.
“For these reasons, as well as the reasons set forth in this letter the application of Matchroom should and must be denied.”
Yafai is excited to get a fight with the biggest name in the division in Gonzalez, a lock as a future Hall of Famer.
“I wanted the biggest possible fight available and after the Juan Francisco Estradaunification fell through, I had the opportunity to fight ‘Chocolatito,’ the former pound for pound king,” Yafai said. “Chocolatito is someone that I have idolized as I worked my way up to become world champion myself, so it doesn’t get much bigger than this and it will bring out the best in me. I can’t wait, it is a case of when idols become rivals and I am so honored to share the ring with him but also show the world that I am an elite world champion.”
Yafai (26-0, 15 KOs), 30, of England, will be making the sixth defense of his 115-pound belt and second in a row — and third in his past four — in the United States. He was initially was going to face Estrada in early 2020 to unify 115-pound world titles but that was delayed because Estrada is sidelined with a hand injury.
That opened the door for Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KOs), who has won world titles at strawweight, junior flyweight, flyweight and junior bantamweight.
A knee injury that required surgery kept Gonzalez out of the ring for 15 months, but he returned on Dec. 23 in Japan and notched a second-round knockout of Diomel Diocos to shake off the rust and put himself in position for another shot at a junior bantamweight world title.
“God has responded to my prayers once again. I want to thank God and (promoter) Teiken foremost. Also, the champion, Kal Yafai for giving me the opportunity to fight for the championship once again,” Gonzalez said. “I know this will be a very hard fight, but it will be worthy of all our efforts and determination.”
Said Hearn: “This is a brilliant fight on an absolute monster of a show. Kal Yafai has been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time, and now he gets it against a legend of the sport in ‘Chocolatito.’ This card in Texas is going to be epic and you can expect Yafai versus ‘Chocolatito’ to be an all-out war.”
The card will also feature another world title bout that was previously announced. Newly crowned flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez(15-1, 12 KOs), 26, of Mexico, who won the belt on December 20, will make his first defense against European champion Jay Harris(17-0, 9 KOs), 29, of Wales.
Julio Cesar Martinez is ready to take on the champ…
The 24-year-old Mexican boxer is set to fight flyweight world titleholder Charlie Edwards on August 31 at the O2 Arena in London, as Edwards makes his mandatory title defense, according to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.
The bout, Edwards’ second title defense, will be part of the card headlined by pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenkodefending his unified lightweight world title — and an attempt to claim a vacant belt as well — against England’s Luke Campbell.
Martinez (14-1, 11 KOs) earned the title shot by knocking out then-undefeated Andrew Selby, of Wales, in the fifth round on March 23 in Mexico.
“He’s a very tough Mexican who can bang with both hands,” Edwards said of Martinez. “His record shows that he’s a massive puncher and we saw that in his last fight against Andrew Selby. He got him out of there in the fifth round and was hurting him on a number of occasions. He’s coming to bring it and he’s going to try and rip that WBC title off me. This is his World Cupfinal.
“He’s going to put it all on the line. He’s going to be coming hard and fast from early to try and put me under pressure, but I believe my boxing skills and the experience that I’ve gained throughout my short pro career will see me through. I expect to have a punch-perfect performance. I believe that he will bring out the very best in me.
“Timing is everything. I believe this is my era. I have arrived at my destination at the right time and I’m loving the journey. To fight your mandatory challenger on one of the biggest cards in British boxing this year is brilliant because it showcases my skills around the world.”
Edwards (15-1, 6 KOs) took a 112-pound world title by unanimous decision from Nicaragua’s Cristofer Rosalesin London in December and made his first defense, also in London, by unanimous decision against Spain’s Angel Morenoon March 23.
“I can’t wait to challenge for the WBC flyweight world title in London,” Martinez said. “I’ll be taking that famous green-and-gold belt back to Mexico with me. I have already knocked out one Brit and on August 31 I will make it two.”
The card also will include a heavyweight fight between contenderHughie Furyand former secondary titlist Alexander Povetkin, a bout that Hearn announced Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Dominican boxer is set to face junior bantamweight world titleholder Khalid Yafai in a mandatory challenge bout after their camps made a deal for the fight.
The agreement came on Tuesday, just before the bout was scheduled to be put up for a purse bid at the WBAoffices in Panama City.
There’s no set date for the fight yet, but Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN that he might place it on the undercard of unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua‘s defense against Jarrell “Big Baby” Milleron June 1 at Madison Square Gardenin New York.
Hearn said if the fight is not on the Joshua-Miller card it would likely be scheduled for another date in June in the United Kingdom.
Yafai (25-0, 15 KOs), 29, of England, has made four title defenses, most recently a unanimous decision over Israel Gonzalezon November 24 in Monte Carlo.
Jimenez (29-8-4, 16 KOs), 28, of the Dominican Republic, hasn’t lost since a four-rounder in 2011, but he also has not faced top opposition.