Seniesa Estrada defends her Ring strawweight belt against Argentina’s Leonela Yudica on July 28
Ring strawweight champion Seniesa Estrada will defend her belt and her WBA/WBC trinkets against Argentina’s former world champion Leonela Yudica on Friday, July 28 at Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
In the 10-round junior lightweight co-feature, unbeaten Las Vegas native Andres “Savage” Cortes will take on Sacramento-born contender Xavier Martinez.
The entire Estrada-Yudica card will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.
Currently rated at No. 5 at pound-for-pound, Estrada (24-0, 9 KOs) is a 12-year pro who has competed at the world class level in three weight classes. In 2019, she beat U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza to capture the WBA interim flyweight world title. Two years later, she captured the WBA strawweight and WBO light flyweight titles in fights against Anabel Ortiz and Tenkai Tsunami. Estrada then vacated those belts to pursue undisputed glory at strawweight. She signed with Top Rank in 2022 and returned from a nearly 11-month layoff in November of that year to shut out Jazmin Gala Villarino. In March, she added the WBC belt to her collection with a shutout win over the previously unbeaten Tina Rupprecht.
“I am willing to fight any woman in or around my weight class, and I respect Yudica for accepting the challenge,” Estrada said. “My goal is to become the undisputed champion at (strawweight), but I can’t achieve that goal without defeating Yudica first. She is standing in my way, and I am coming to Las Vegas to make an emphatic statement.”
Yudica (19-1-3, 1 KO), currently rated No. 5 by The Ring at junior flyweight, debuted as a pro in April 2012 and captured the IBF flyweight world title with a split decision win against Gabriela Bouvier in December 2014. She held the title for nearly eight years, fighting to a draw in her first defense against Vanesa Lorena Taborda in 2015 before defending it seven times. The native of San Juan, Argentina, lost the belt in a tightly contested split decision loss to Arely Muciño in October 2022 and is coming off a 10-round decision victory over Tamara Elisabet Demarco in April.
Yudica said, “I’m taking this amazing opportunity to show the world what Argentinian fighters are made of. I’m bringing the belts back home to San Juan with me.”
Cortes (19-0, 10 KOs) was a standout amateur, defeating Teofimo Lopez twice in the unpaid ranks. A seven-year pro, Cortes made his Top Rank debut in 2020 and has built a reputation for engaging in action-packed affairs. He shined on the Emanuel Navarrete-Liam Wilson undercard in February, shutting out Puerto Rican upstart Luis Melendez in his first scheduled 10-rounder. Martinez (18-1, 12 KOs) returns to action following an 11-month layoff, intent on proving he belongs in the junior lightweight title conversation. He rebounded from a one-sided loss to Robson Conceição with a stoppage win over Alejandro Guerrero last August.
Undercard action includes two competitive matchups featuring talents from four different Latin American countries.
Puerto Rican-born junior lightweight contender Abraham “El Super” Nova (22-1, 15 KOs) will face Colombian former world champion Jonathan Romero (35-1, 19 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Nova, who fights out Albany, New York, holds wins over Avery Sparrow and William Encarnacion. In June 2022, he suffered his first defeat via fifth-round knockout against two-time Olympic gold medalist and current world champion Robeisy Ramirez. He bounced back in January with a 10-round decision win over Adam Lopez. Romero edged Alejandro Lopez by split decision in 2013 to capture the IBF junior featherweight world title. He is 12-0 since losing the title in his first defense to Kiko Martinez.
Dominican Olympian Rohan “El Rayo” Polanco (9-0, 5 KOs) steps up against Panamanian-born contender Cesar “Rainman” Francis (12-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight fight. Polanco went 4-0 as a pro before losing in his opening Olympic bout in Tokyo in 2021. Polanco returned to the paid ranks in November 2021 and is coming off a six-round decision win against Ricardo Quiroz in April. Francis seeks to regain his momentum following a 10-round decision loss to Jesus Saracho in January.
The ESPN+-streamed undercard also features an eight-round lightweight fight between 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas (14-1, 12 KOs) and Philadelphia standout Nahir Albright (15-2, 7 KOs).
Former Team USA amateur standout Charlie Sheehy (6-0, 4 KOs) will see action in a six-round lightweight tilt, while hard-hitting Japanese southpaw Subaru Murata (4-0, 4 KOs) returns in a six-round junior featherweight battle.
“Seniesa Estrada is one of the very best fighters on the planet and is only getting better with every fight,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Yudica is an experienced championship-level fighter who will be undeterred fighting on the big stage. I expect a sensational fight on July 28, along with a co-feature between Cortes and Martinez that promises fireworks.”
A press release by Top Rank was used in this article.