WBC junior flyweight world titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada did his part to get a rematch with Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez, who beat him in 2012, by defeating Carlos Cuadras in an 11th-round TKO Friday night at the TV Azteca Studio in Mexico City.
But it certainly wasn't easy, as Estrada had to recover from an early knockdown before stopping Cuadras late in the fight.
Estrada-Cuadras was itself a rematch of a 2017 bout that saw Estrada defeat Cuadras by a single point on all three of the judges' cards in a 12-round fight, with the difference being a knockdown by Estrada in the 10th round.
On Friday, Estrada (40-3, 28 KOs) hit the deck in the third round when he was clipped by a right uppercut-left hook combination from Cuadras (40-4, 27 KOs). But Estrada was able to get up and control the next several rounds with precise punching, accuracy and power.
Cuadras had his moments, but he simply couldn't match the power of Estrada's thumping shots to the body. At times you could see Estrada hurting Cuadras with attacks to the body. To his credit, though, Cuadras mustered up enough offense to take Round 10 on the scorecards.
But at the beginning of the 11th, a three-punch combination by Estrada sent Cuadras crumbling to the floor. While it was obvious that he was on his last legs, Cuadras was able to continue and attempted to trade punches with Estrada again, and Estrada responded by hitting Cuadras again with a straight right hand that knocked Cuadras down for the second time in the round. It looked as if the fight was over, but somehow Cuadras got back to his feet once more, and showed incredible courage in letting his hands go and exchanging blows with Estrada.
Cuadras landed a few of his punches, but they simply lacked the steam and velocity in response to what was coming back his way. Finally, a right hand that snapped Cuadras' head back forced the referee to stopped the fight at 2:22 of Round 11.
And with that, Estrada looks forward to a long-awaited rematch with Gonzalez.
Chocolatito retains title with dominating decision victory
Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez retained his WBA junior bantamweight world title by wearing down Israel Gonzalez in 12 fast-paced rounds full of action. At the end of the fight, all three judges scored the fight for Chocolatito: 118-110, 116-112 and 117-111.
It was a remarkable pace set forth by Chocolatito, 33, against an opponent nine years his junior. Chocolatito was able to figure out the upper body movement of Gonzalez (25-4, 11 KOs) in the early rounds by landing right hands to the body, and then combining his attack with an array of left hooks, uppercuts from both sides and right hands over the top.
While Israel Gonzalez was the taller fighter, Roman Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs) was able to close the gap and send his opponent to the ropes, where Roman would landed effective combinations to the body and head.
Israel Gonzalez had some spurts of effectiveness, as he had the faster hands, but for the most part, he was on the receiving end of an unrelenting offensive attack that he simply couldn't fend off.
With the victory, Chocolatito moved one step closer to an expected rematch with Estrada, whom he defeated in 2012 in a memorable battle.
Martinez retains title with TKO victory
WBC flyweight world titlist Julio Cesar Martinez made quick work of Moises Calleros to retain his belt via second-round TKO.
A three-punch salvo that included a left hook sent Calleros to the canvas in Round 1, and while Calleros survived to make the second round, Martinez's frenetic attack didn't let up. Martinez overwhelmed him with a series of power punches, and had Calleros up along the ropes in the second, where Calleros was swarmed by another onslaught before referee Cesar Castanon ultimately stepped in to wave off the fight at 2:42 minutes of the round.
Calleros (33-10-1, 17 KOs) came in as a late replacement and was almost six pounds over the flyweight limit, but the extra weight didn't help him against Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs). Calleron simply couldn't take the swift and powerful punches of Martinez, who is quickly making his case as one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport, thanks to his aggression and punching power compared to his size.