One of the most anticipated fights on the 2021 1st quarter schedule remains very much intact.
Rumors have swirled of potential issues surrounding the 115-pound unification clash between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. Their rematch was previously announced to take place March 13 at a location to be determined, although recent reports suggested the fight was in jeopardy and that a deal had never been reached.
At least one side remains fully committed in moving forward, largely due to assurances from the other.
“Contrary to rumors, the Juan Estrada vs. Roman Gonzalez [rematch] is still on,” Zanfer Boxing, Estrada’s Mexico-based promoter confirmed to BoxingScene.com and other media members on Tuesday.
The bout—which will air live on DAZN—comes more than eight years after their fantastic 12-round war in Nov. 2012, which a then-unbeaten Gonzalez won by unanimous decision in the final defense of his 108-pound title. Estrada entered his first title reign one fight later, moving up to flyweight where he dethroned Brian Viloria to become a unified titlist.
Gonzalez went on to claim the lineal flyweight champion along with a belt at junior bantamweight to become Nicaragua’s first-ever four-division titlist. His 115-pound reign—along with unbeaten record and stay atop the pound-for-pound rankings—came to an end following back-to-back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, including a vicious 4th round knockout loss in their Sept. 2017 rematch.
Sor Rungvisai went on to defeat Estrada in their Feb. 2018 war, before Estrada (41-3, 28KOs) exacted revenge in their April 2019 rematch in becoming a two-division titlist. Two successful defenses have followed, including an off-the-canvas 11th round knockout of Carlos Cuadras in their Fight-of-the-Year level rematch last October in Mexico City.
The same show saw Gonzalez (50-2, 41KOs) make the 1st defense of his second 115-pound title reign, outpointing Israel Gonzalez over 12 rounds. The Nicaraguan legend won a belt eight months earlier, taking out unbeaten Kal Yafai via 9th round stoppage last February.
Promoter Eddie Hearn announced plans for the long-awaited rematch during a Dec. 19 DAZN show headlined by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s 12-round shutout of unbeaten Callum Smith. Nothing but positive feedback came of the announcement, at least until a report from Nicaragua’s La Prensa quoted Alfredo Caballero, Estrada’s trainer in claiming that terms were still being negotiated and that the money still needed to be worked out on both sides.
Estrada’s promoter put an end to those talks, confirming that both boxers are ready to prepare for what figures to be an early entrant in the 2021 Fight of the Year race.
“Team Estrada is 100% in, [and] will start training next week in Los Mochis, Mexico,” Zanfer stated on the record. “Team Chocolatito is also 100% in, [confirmed] through Akemi Irie [U.S.-based coordinator for] Teiken Promotions. He will start training next Monday in California.”
Gonzalez confirmed as much in recent interviews with Nicaraguan TV networks.
Estrada is 15-1 since their first fight, including 9-1 in title fights over that stretch. Gonzalez is 16-2 over that same period, including 9-2 in title fights since moving up from junior flyweight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox