Juan Francisco Estrada to defend junior bantamweight championship against Argi Cortes on Sept. 3
Ring Magazine junior bantamweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada will face fringe contender Argi Cortes on September 3, Zanfer Promotions announced Wednesday.
The 12-round bout will take place at the Centro de Usos Multiples in Estrada’s hometown of Hermosillo, Mexico and will stream worldwide on DAZN and throughout Latin America on ESPN Knockout.
The fight against Cortes will be a homecoming for Estrada, who last fought in Hermosillo in August 2019, where he stopped Dewayne Beamon in the ninth round. Estrada has not fought since March 13 of last year, when he defeated Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez by split decision in an all-action fight that many thought Gonzalez did enough to win.
“I’m very excited about this card,” said Estrada at Wednesday’s press conference. “We will finally step inside the ring after more than a year. I expect a difficult opponent. I know Argi Cortes will come to the fight well-prepared, and he will have someone in his corner who knows everything (in boxing) and with a lot of experience in (trainer) Don Nacho Beristain, but we’ve had a great training camp. I’ve enjoyed it because for the first time in six years, I’ve trained without any ailments or injuries and that has me very motivated.”
Estrada (42-3, 28 knockouts) made news last week after the WBA stripped him of his world title belt for failing to face secondary world titleholder Joshua Franco in a timely manner. Franco remains the only titleholder of the sanctioning body.
The 32-year-old has won his last six fights since losing by majority decision to then-WBC world junior bantamweight titleholder Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Cortes (23-2-2, 10 KOs), who resides in Mexico City, will take a significant step up in opposition when he faces Estrada. In his last bout on May 28, Cortes defeated Rogelio Romero Garcia by unanimous decision.
The 27-year-old has defeated seven unbeaten fighters since turning pro in April 2014. He is unbeaten after splitting his first four fights.
In the co-main event, Erika Cruz (14-1, 3 KOs) of Mexico City will defend her WBA Female world featherweight title against Edmonton’s Jelena Mrdjenovich (41-11-2, 19 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Cruz and Mrdjenovich are ranked No. 2 and 4, respectively, by The Ring in the female rankings at 126 pounds.
The fight is a rematch of their clash on April 22 of last year, which Cruz won by technical decision after it was ruled Mrdjenovich was not able to continue after suffering a cut from an accidental clash of heads.
The vacant IBF world junior flyweight title will be on the line as Hector Flores (20-0-4, 10 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico will square off against South Africa’s Sivenathi Nontshinga (10-0, 9 KOs), who is ranked No. 7 by The Ring.
In a clash of unbeaten local featherweights, Christian Olivo (19-0-1, 7 KOs) will face Carlos Vargas (15-0, 13 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing