By: Sean Crose
Juan Francisco Estrada had one goal on Saturday night in Hermosillo: defeat Argi Cortes, preferably in impressive fashion. Having bested Chocolatito Gonzalez in a sizzling 2021 rematch, Estrada (42-3) likely had a third fight with the legendary Nicaraguan in a row, provided he beat Cortes (23-2-2) first in their scheduled round of 12. As for Cortes, he too had only one goal on Saturday: surprise the boxing world by conquering the popular Estrada.
Neither fighter was afraid to enter a close first round in which each man had his moments. Things remained even in the second as it was clear that Cortes was coming to win. Defending WBC super flyweight champion Estrada came out in high-energy mode in the third, stinging his man with sharp, effective punches. However, Cortes ended up landing his own heavy shots as the round wore on. Cortes then went on to shake his man vigorously and repeatedly across the room.
The fifth was a searing affair with each fighter landing on their foe in a fast and furious manner. In the end, however, it seemed to be Cortes who came out on top. The sixth was a thriller. Cortés repeatedly hit the Estrada. Estrada started hitting solo towards the end of the round, but Cortes recovered before the bell. The seventh, however, saw Estrada drop his man with a body shot. Cortes beat the count, but it was a huge round for Estrada. The eighth once again saw each man hitting hard. Cortes was clearly more of a challenge to Estrada than expected.
Things remained even in the ninth, although it seemed to be Estrada whose punches were having the most impact. The tenth was not as fast as some of the previous rounds, but Cortes showed that he was still in the fight. The fighters continued to cut each other down in the eleventh. The twelfth and final round saw both fighters leave it all in the ring. The winner of this grueling affair ended up being Estrada by unanimous decision. Cortes, however, probably did his race a lot of good Saturday night, but by virtue of his performance.
Earlier in the night, Erika Cruz defended her WBA featherweight title against Jelena Mrdjenovic, whom she beat via decision. Sivenathi Nontshinga also won the IBF flyweight title by defeating Hector Flores in a brilliant contest.