By Francisco Salazar
Featherweight contender Erick Ituarte is not going to allow anything or anyone get in the way of one fighting for a world title. That includes an injury he recently suffered.
Ituarte returns to action tonight after a length hiatus from the ring when he squares off against gatekeeper Jose Estrella at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California. The 10-round bout will stream live on Thompsonboxing. com or the Thompson Boxing Facebook page.
The 24-year-old Ituarte, who is originally from Durango, Mexico and now resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Ana, has not fought since a decision win over former world title challenger Carlos Carlson on May 11. During the fight, Ituarte aggravated a back injury, forcing him to take time away from the ring to recuperate from the injury.
Ituarte, who is promoted by Thompson Boxing, is glad to be back in the ring.
“I had a lower back injury going into the Carlson fight, but I didn’t want to back out because I knew I could beat him,” said Ituarte earlier this week. “After the fight, I started to feel more pain so I got an MRI and it revealed some problems. Thankfully, I didn’t have to have surgery, but I was tied up with rest and physical therapy last year. Basically I had to re-strengthen the muscles in my lower back.”
“I feel great now. I’m completely healthy with no issues. I don’t see ring rust being an issue because I got some pretty good sparring in for this training camp.”
Estrella (20-15-1, 14 KOs), who resides in Tijuana, Mexico, could provide an interesting challenge to Ituarte, even though he has split his last eight bouts. He was knocked out in his last bout at the hands of featherweight contender Miguel Marriaga on Nov. 3, but pulled off the upset win over Javier Rodriguez in January of 2017.
Ituarte believes he will be ready for anything Estrella brings to the ring.
“We know he’s a tough fighter. He’s shorter than me so I think he’ll want to fight on the inside and try to lock me up. I’ll feel him out the first few rounds and go from there. I like to pick up the pace as soon as possible so fans won’t have to wait too long to see some fireworks.”
Ituarte was ranked as high as number by the WBO, but was dropped from their rankings due to inactivity. He has won his last 13 bout since suffering his only loss as a pro against Cesar Valenzuela in June of 2014.
He is confident he can secure a world title shot later this year if he continues to win impressively.
“I hope this is my year. I’m obviously focused on Estrada because that’s a tough fight, but I feel I’m ready to compete for a world title. Oscar Valdez comes to mind because he’s a guy I have tremendous respect for, but we’ll have to see what develops there. The plan is to let everyone know on Friday that I can challenge for a world title very soon.”
In other action:
- Welterweight Luis Lopez (5-0, 3 KOs) of nearby Corona will face Mexico’s Daniel Perales (10-16-2, 5 KOs) in a four-round bout.
- Heavyweight Oscar Torrez (4-0, 1 KO) of Rialto will square off against Thomas Hawkins (4-3, 1 KO) of Houston in a four-round bout.
- In super middleweight action, Richard Brewart (4-0, 2 KOs) will face Tijuana, Mexico’s Sergio Ramirez (6-5, 6 KOs) in a four-round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing