Saturday, March 25, 2023  |


Giovani Segura ready to wage war, once again, versus Juan Estrada



Giovani Segura calls it “the roller coaster,” that up-and-down, chaotic journey that is professional boxing. Segura was at the top of the ride after he handed then-unbeaten Ivan Calderon the ring maestro’s first loss in 2010 to unify WBA and WBO junior flyweight belts (and earn THE RING’s 108-pound championship), and when he repeated the feat a year later.

However, there have also been the valleys, such as when he was stopped by former gym mate Brian Viloria in eight rounds in 2011 after developed a Hasim Rahman-like hematoma on the side of his head during the battle.

But when you have the fight-changing power that Segura holds in his hands, you’re always just a swing away from returning to the top of the division.

Segura (32-3-1, 28 knockouts) will get another shot at putting championship gold around his waist when he faces WBA/WBO flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada on Saturday at Mexico City Arena in Mexico.

For Segura, the three years since the minor upset to Viloria have been an exercise in recapturing his form as a fighter. He was absent from the ring for 13 months, during which he admits to experiencing “personal problems,” including the death of his long-time mentor Arturo Mora.

“All I can say is that I have a new mind and a new me. I’m a renewed Giovani Segura,” said Segura, 32.

Segura relocated to Mexico City from Southern California and scored a knockout over gatekeeper Omar Salado in February of 2013, which earned him a showdown with former champion Edgar Sosa three months later, which he lost by a unanimous decision.

After such a layoff Segura wasn’t ready for that type of fight, he asserts, but three months after that he was ready for unbeaten Puerto Rican prospect Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez, whom he knocked out in four rounds. Three months after that he was ready for former WBA flyweight titleholder Hernan “Tyson” Marquez, whom he knocked out in a Fight of the Year-caliber brawl in 12 rounds. And after stopping Felipe Salguero in 10 this past April, Segura says he’s ready for Estrada.

“I’m fighting one of the best fighters out there,” says Segura. “I think Estrada is a complete fighter who can box and can bang and has great conditioning. From round one, we’re gonna look for the knockout. We’ve got the strength, we’ve got the conditioning, we’ve got the power to get him down.”

Facing power punchers isn’t something new to the 24-year-old Estrada (26-2, 19 KOs), who went 12 hard rounds with two-division titleholder Roman Gonzalez in a close defeat in 2012 before winning his two titles with an upset over the red-hot Viloria in April of 2013.

Estrada has followed that performance up with victories over Filipino veterans Milan Melindo and Richie Mepranum.

“He adjusts his styles on his opponent,” assesses Segura. “He’s really smart, I think that’s going to be one of the keys for this fight. We’re not gonna let him get his rhythm, get his distance, get his style. We’re gonna put pressure on him and make him fight our fight, not his fight.”

Estrada-Segura is one of two major flyweight bouts scheduled for this week. RING/WBC flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi will be defending his titles in Japan on Friday against Gonzalez in a fight that could serve as a semifinal to a clash with the Estrada-Segura winner.

Segura declined to make a pick on the fight, as the topic of Roman Gonzalez seems to irk him.

“I don’t really care. It’s been so many years, at the beginning Gonzalez used to call me out but I would never receive a call or an offer from Gonzalez’s people,” said Segura. “The only thing he used to do is call me out after his fights. But at this time it’s boring, talking about the same thing over and over again. I think it’s time for him to decide to fight me and not me to decide to fight him.”

The only fight Segura cares to envision is the one he has lined up.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the fight, all I can tell you is he’s been saying he’s going to box me, he’s going to do the same thing what Viloria did to me,” said Segura. “All I can say is that after the bell rings I’m gonna go for the knockout from the first second until he goes down.”