By Francisco Salazar
INGLEWOOD - The journey from poverty in the streets in Thailand to world champion continues for Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
And it capped off an excellent fight and fight card on Saturday night.
Rungvisai won a hard-fought 12 round majority decision over Juan Francisco Estrada before a raucous crowd of 7,827 at the Forum in this suburb of Los Angeles. With the victory, Rungvisai retains the WBC junior bantamweight title.
Rungvisai (44-4-1, 39 knockouts) was coming off two high-profile fights with Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez, the latter where he cemented his standing amongst the fighters at 115 pounds with a resounding fourth round knockout victory on Sept. 9.
On the same 'SuperFly' card, Estrada (36-3, 25 KOs) won a close unanimous decision over Carlos Cuadras to earn the right to face Rungvisai.
Both fighters were effective early on, landing their share of punches. The southpaw Rungvisai was able to sneak jabs and followed those up with overhand and straight left hands to the head. Not to be outdone, Estrada mixed in an attack straight right hands to the head as well.
By the midway point of the fight, Rungvisai's straight left hands were landing with more regularity to the head of Estrada.
Estrada was able to make an adjustment in round eight, finding a home for left hooks over the top of Rungvisai's right jab. Estrada would continue with that until round 10 when Rungvisai landed stinging left hands to the head, momentarily slowing down Estrada's offense.
Both fighters threw everything in the final round, standing in the middle of the ring and trading bombs to the head. It was almost even as Rungvisai landed 28 total punches (of 112 thrown), while Estrada threw 75, connecting on 26 total punches.
One judge scored the bout 114-114, while the other two judges scored the bout 115-113 and an inexplicable 117-111 for Rungvisai.
The fight was close on paper. Rungvisai threw 879 total punches, connecting on 194 punches (22.1 percent). Estrada landed 189 out of 671 total punches (28.2 percent).
The closeness of the final round and the fight is already bringing about talk of a rematch between Rungvisai and Estrada.
"I've already talked to HBO and they are interested in something in the fall," said Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions. "This fight would headline 'SuperFly3.'"
For Estrada, the fight snapped a 10-bout winning streak. His last loss was to Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez in November of 2012.
Estrada did win two world title belts after the loss to Gonzalez and maybe the omen could be he could win the rematch against Rungvisai or he set himself up for a world title opportunity or big money fight for later this year.
"I felt I won the fight with my boxing," said Estrada, who resides in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. "The last three rounds were my aggressiveness. It was a good fight. Obviously, I would like the rematch. We'll see if they give it to me."
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, RingTV.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing