By Jake Donovan
Juan Francisco Estrada entered 2019 with hopes of becoming a two-division champion.
Having already accomplished that, his year can now end with his becoming a two-division unified champ.
The reigning lineal super flyweight king lodged his first successful defense with a 9th round stoppage of Dewayne Beamon. The bout took place Saturday evening in front of a capacity crowd at Centro de Usos Multiples in Estrada’s hometown of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. It marked his first fight anywhere in Mexico in more than two years and first fight in his true hometown since Dec. 2014.
“Everyone watching on TV (DAZN in the United States and select markets, TV Azteca in Mexico) saw that the atmosphere was incredible,” Eddie Hearn, Estrada’s co-promoter said of the super flyweight king’s overdue homecoming to a group of reporters Saturday evening on site in Hermosillo.
The last time Estrada (40-3, 27KOs) previously appeared in a title fight in Mexico came in Sept. 2015, when he knocked out countryman and former titlist Hernan ‘Tyson’ Marquez in the 10th round to defend his pair of flyweight straps for the last time. A reign which began back in April 2013 came to an unfortunate end when injuries kept him out of the ring for more than a year before resurfacing as a super flyweight in 2016.
It took two tries to claim a major title at the weight, coming up just short in his thriller with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai last February before avenging the loss with a close but clear win this past April in Inglewood, Calif.
In addition to capturing the lineal championship came his collecting the World Boxing Council (WBC) title. The hope for his next fight is to pair him with World Boxing Association (WBA) 115-pound titlist Kal Yafai, who defended his title with a 12-round win over Norbelto Jimenez this past June in Providence, Rhode Island.
Estrada and Yafai are both promoted by Matchroom Boxing, which should make a unification clash that much easier to bring to fruition.
“I would like to see Gallo Estrada win the other belts in the division,” notes Hearn, specifying his own preference for Estrada’s future, which includes a potential run at bantamweight. “Yafai is a brilliant fighter, that is a great unification fight. So I think next will be Kal Yafai. Maybe try and win (another belt), maybe a (rubber match) with Sor Rungvisai down the road.”
Saturday’s bout marked Estrada’s second straight as a DAZN headliner but first in which he’s carried the promotion. The event was enough of a success to where his handlers would love to keep the action south of the border for his next fight, in addition to recent suggestions of Southern California as well as the undercard of the Dec. 7 heavyweight title fight rematch between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
“Maybe California,” Hearn noted of possible other locations, with Estrada fighting five straight times in the greater Los Angeles area prior to Saturday. “But there’s a baseball stadium in Hermosillo which holds 25,000 [Writer’s Note: two stadiums reside within 20 minutes of Saturday’s hosting venue—Estadio Héctor Espino and Estadio Sonora]. We would love to try to take the fight there.
“Why take it to Saudi Arabia or California when you can do it right here in Hermosillo?”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox