NEW YORK -- Seniesa Estrada still has plenty of unfinished business before once again setting her sights on Marlen Esparza.
That doesn’t leave her longtime and bitter rival off the hook.
The two-division and reigning WBA strawweight titlist is still awaiting her first fight date for the year following a breakout 2021 campaign. As she attempts to sort out a next fight date with promoter Golden Boy Promotions, Estrada (22-0, 9KOs) has spent time at various events whether working as an expert analyst for various DAZN broadcasts or simply as a fan.
The most recent call came on the April 9 DAZN show in San Antonio, where Estrada was part of the broadcast team for Esparza’s career-best win in a ten-round decision over Japan’s Naoko Fujioka to unify the WBA/WBC flyweight titles. Esparza (12-1, 1KO) told BoxingScene.com after the fight that her plan was to go for undisputed crown and then save “that little bitty 108 cherry” Estrada for last—perhaps the one thing on which the two can find common ground.
“I hope she gets all the belts at 112 because then I can go whip her ass again and take the belts,” Estrada told BoxingScene.com. “The itty bitty 108 cherry will go up to 112 and whip your ass.”
Somehow, their rivalry has generated even more animosity after having already settled their differences in the ring.
A true grudge match lived up to the growing animosity, though their November 2019 interim flyweight title fight ended with Houston’s Esparza unable to continue after the ninth round due to a gruesome cut suffered by Esparza earlier in the bout. Estrada—who proudly represents East Los Angeles—won a technical decision by scores of 90-81, 89-82 and 88-83 in what should have settled the feud.
It hasn’t, though both have still managed to move on with their respective careers.
Estrada left behind the interim belt and the flyweight division, since claiming major titles at strawweight and junior flyweight in back-to-back fights last year. The feat was achieved by dethroning a pair of long-reigning champs, ending Anabel Ortiz’s WBA strawweight title reigning spanning nearly eight years with a ten-round shutout last March and then outpointing Japan’s Tsunami Tenkai to end her three-year WBO junior flyweight title last July at home in L.A.
A sensational fourth-round knockout of unbeaten Maria Santizo last December capped Estrada’s Fighter of the Year-level ring campaign, though her momentum has been stalled due to an ongoing dispute with Golden Boy.
Upon her ring return—which is eyed for July with or without Golden Boy along for the ride—Estrada intends to finish what she started at strawweight in her quest to become a three-division undisputed champion.
“I would like to stick to one weight class, get the belts there and then move up,” admits Estrada. “Sometimes, it’s hard to do that because you can’t get the other champions in the ring. So, if they don’t want to fight then you have to look at moving up to the next weight.
“It’s the good thing to be able to fight at 105, 108 or 112. I know I can beat anyone at those weights.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox