The Rungvisai Era is Over, “Gallo” Estrada new champ
It was a clear re-do from last year’s main event bout on the now-defunct HBO Boxing, Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada defeated Sriskat Sor Rungvisai to capture the WBC super flyweight world title at The Forum in Inglewood, California, on a card televised by DAZN.
“Gallo” Estrada now is next in line of the stoic, non-sense Mexican fighters in the realm, but not identical to Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, and the other greats from recent memory. We will get into the fight in a minute, but let’s talk about the business first.
Rungvisai was a rating nightmare. His debut on HBO was on PPV beating Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin versus Daniel Jacobs. The commentators mostly bashed Rungvisai decrying that Chocolatito was the true winner, and no-sold his win.
A rematch was set, and Rungvisai knocked out “Chocolatito”, which in many ways signaled the beginning of the end for HBO Boxing as Rungvisai was a hard story to tell and with no English language skills, the narrative component was limited as well as a viable known super flyweight, were few and far between.
From my POV, the bout last year against Estrada was a hope from either the promoter or network that Estrada, a more compelling figure could grab the title and we could return to business as usual, but with Rungvisai bruting his way to victory, and taking a year-long hiatus fighting only in Asia after heartbreak (you can’t make this up), the vibrant super flyweight division, suddenly was at a stand-still, as the best fighter in the division was fighting in obscurity, not unlike what the division faced prior to Chocolatito and Tom Loeffler, who took the chance on the division. In essence, just as soon as the investment paid of in the super flyweight division we were back to square one with Rungvisai’s inactivity.
Rungvisai was confusing, because to the average viewer it looked like he was extremely limited, but he was tricky, awkward and incredibly strong. A major emphasis on strength. Rungvisai was a fighter, who reminds his foe, that boxing was a physical sport.
In his meeting on Friday night with Estrada, Rungvisai had an odd game plan of fighting as an orthodox fighter despite the fact he is a natural southpaw. Estrada outboxed him for the majority of the early rounds with potentially this tactical decision, costing Rungvisai his opportunity to appear again on U.S. television again, unless as a major b-side.
Estrada is the classic boxer with intentions of throwing with power and not wanting to back down. Estrada in his comfort zone is a back foot fighter, who is an active counter puncher looking to be first with the jab, and the then punch in between punches to nullify the opponent’s offense. In short, it is easier to understand the greatness of Estrada.
Rungvisai was a much different type of world champion, one who it seemed size, power, and toughness took the forefront as he threw hooks like jab and relied on timing. Rungvisai was the quintessential definition of an awkward fighter.
Now with Estrada holding the belt and seemingly being the best in the division, the question will be an interest in the division remain or did the last few pieces of the puzzle just fall, and now we are simply looking at a division that will have moderate interest despite great fights?