INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The feel-good story of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai continued as he retained his junior bantamweight world title by majority decision in an intense slugfest with mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada on Saturday night at The Forum.
The crowd of 7,827, mostly Mexican fans on hand to support Estrada, booed the decision when the scores were read: 117-111 and 115-113 for Sor Rungvisai and 114-114. ESPN.com also scored the fight 115-113 for Sor Rungvisai, who retained his 115-pound world title for the second time in the main event of the “Superfly 2” card; super flyweight is the alternate name for the junior bantamweight division.
Sor Rungvisai came out strong and established his straight left hand. He looked stronger and more powerful than Estrada, the crowd favorite.
The opening round was tame, but the action really heated up in the second round as they began to trade, giving the crowd what it had come for. Sor Rungvisai continually pushed Estrada back throughout as the rounds went on.
Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 39 KOs) had a big fifth round as he powered his way inside and landed right hooks and straight lefts to the head and body. Estrada (36-3, 25 KOs) tried to plant and fire power shots, but he rarely connected with anything flush.
Estrada began to come on in the seventh round, and in the eighth round he landed some heavy punches, but Sor Rungvisai answered as they traded toe to toe in the center of the ring.
There were chants of “Mexico! Mexico!” in the ninth round as the crowd tried to lift Estrada, who landed a solid left uppercut that knocked Sor Rungvisai off balance.
Sor Rungvisai punctuated a close 10th round by landing a pair of hard right hands just as the round was ending. Estrada seemed to get it back in the 11th round as he closed with a powerful jab-left hook combination. Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., ringside working as an analyst for the Mexican telecast, stood up and shoyted instructions to his countryman after the round.
With the fight seemingly close, the fighters let it all hang out in the 12th round. They slugged it out as the crowd stood and cheered. Both landed heavy punches and brawled all out until referee Jack Reiss separated them at the final bell.