Sunday, June 04, 2023  |



Juan Francisco Estrada set for ring return, eyes rubber match with Roman Gonzalez

Juan Francisco Estrada. Photo by German Villasenor
Fighters Network

The Ring junior bantamweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada will fight for the first time in 18 months when he takes on the unheralded Argi Cortes in Hermosillo, Mexico, on Saturday.

Estrada, who is a two-weight world champion, having won titles at flyweight and junior bantamweight, is looking forward to his ring return and fighting in front of his home fans.

“I think it will be a very good fight for the people,” Estrada (42-3, 28 knockouts) told The Ring through Memo Brito. “[Cortes] is a young, hungry, technical fighter, and it will be a great fight.

“We spent three months training in Mexico City to be able to arrive in optimal condition. That’s how it will be if we continue with [trainer] Alfredo Caballero.”

The 32-year-old Estrada has been chronically inactive. He has not competed since a controversial split decision win over Roman Gonzalez, in March 2021, and recently dropped off The Ring’s pound for pound list.

“Because of covid,” reasoned Estrada, who tested positive and was forced to pull out of a rubber match with Gonzalez earlier this year. “My fights have been postponed a lot.”

Last month, Estrada vacated the WBA title rather than face mandatory challenger Joshua Franco. And having accepted the WBC’s “Franchise” distinction, The Ring no longer recognize him as champion for that organization (Jesse Rodriguez is the WBC 115-pound titleholder).

However, Estrada is still one of the finest fighters in the world today and has crosshairs locked on his number one nemesis.

“[I want] to be able to do the fight with Roman González at the end of the year – that’s the plan,” stated Estrada when asked for his short-terms goals.

Cortes turned professional in 2014. The Mexican lost his third and fourth fights, but has remained unbeaten since against middling opposition. The 27-year-old sports a record of 23-2-2 (10 KOs).

Estrada-Cortes, plus full supporting undercard, will be broadcast on DAZN, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT and 2 a.m. GMT.


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright