Derek Bonnett reports on the Forum show as Juan Francisco Estrada gets revenge on Srisaket, while Daniel Roiman and TJ Doheny unify in a war
The Pound for Pound ramifications of the rematch between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada were marginalized greatly, mostly due to the diminutive stature of each combatant. Rungvisai, riding high on three successive victories over the sport’s elite, took a two-fight breather before rematching Estrada. Their 2018 battle warranted Fight of the Year honors and received such from various boxing outlets. The rematch at Forum in Inglewood, CA, USA promised a special result with most favoring a repeat of the first encounter.
The most common prognostication would not be realized as Mexico’s Estrada boxed nearly perfect for eight rounds before his cojones took over. Estrada’s speed stood out front and center in the first frame as the champion from Thailand patiently sought to land his one-twos. Both fighters tapped the torso, hoping to earn dividends later in the bout. Estrada kept his pace into the second round while the champion utilized level changes to switch up his attack from body to head. Estrada twisted his trunk, creating defensive angles, making himself a difficult target. In the third, Rungvisai’s combinations found their mark, but sparingly in comparison to his challenger. Estrada rolled well to levy the impact of each blow or avoided them altogether. Nothing changed in the champions approach through four rounds as Estrada kept on his toes. The challenger led 39-37 unofficially at SecondsOut following the fourth.
Rungvisai, 32, began altering his stance to no real success in the fifth. Estrada moved in circles and began widening the gap in each round with uncontested work. Never looking frustrated, the champion passively fell behind on the cards. Even when his left hook connected, it lacked the same punctuation seen in his previous bouts with Roman Gonzalez and Estrada. In the rematch, Estrada used his physical gift of reach to greater advantage. He attacked from the outside, shifted his weight, and avoided return fire almost effortlessly. It never came, but a frustration TKO began to look like a real possibility. Estrada, 29, raised his lead to 79-73 unofficially at SecondsOut.
In the ninth, Rungvisai’s shift in stance produced more gains and may have been devised to protect an injured left hand as his team finally urged him to throw it more. The end result will surely haunt the southpaw champion later as he was able to produce much better work over the final stretch. Estrada’s punches began to merely touch the champion as opposed to stinging him with quality snap. A slugfest broke out as Estrada elected to fight more flat-footed either through necessity or machismo. It cost him rounds, but not the fight. Rungvisai swept the final three rounds unofficially to limit Estrada’s victory to a 116-112 margin. The official scores also saw Estrada dethroning the Thai champion by verdicts of 116-112 and 115-113 twice.
A trilogy remains possible, but Estrada expressed greater interest in a fellow belt holder. With the career best performance, Estrada enhanced his dossier to 39-3-0 (26). Rungvisai dipped to 47-5-1 (41).
In what might be a candidate for Fight of the Year, Daniel Roman’s majority decision victory over TJ Doheny certainly proved to be the best fight on the DAZN card. Roman, one of boxing’s quiet champions, made a little more noise than we’re used to hearing from him in terms of drama. However, fans surely are liking it.
Roman, 28, fought in front of a home crowd in his title unification bout against previously unbeaten TJ Doheny of Ireland. His fourth defense started at a quick pace with both men connecting. Doheny,32, used a power jab while Roman pressured his co-champion, peppering him with rights. Roman, always patient, punched for accuracy. Doheny, the more kinetic fighter, snapped his shots. The two traded hooks and while Doheny’s had the greater success early. Roman dropped the Irishman in the second. Roman’s confidence increased, upping his attack a level, as he moved in two work the body. Doheny recovered, but saw a drop in output. Doheny’s hands looked heavier in the ring, but Roman’s hands worked him over, drawing blood from his nose. The Mexican-American champion built an early 39-37 lead at SecondsOut.
Doheny’s eye blew up in the fifth, but Roman focused his attention to the body. Roman’s output remained steady as Doheny found his target again. Doheny used his feet better in the sixth, allowing him to box more effectively and inch his way back into the fight. The seventh nearly saw the end of Roman’s reign as Doheny rocked him badly, but sabotaged his own momentum by pushing the hurt titlist to the canvas. Roman appeared ready to go, but he never stopped coming forward on shaky legs. The eighth proved an odd choice for Doheny to take a break and Roman surely needed it. Roman’s lead fell to 76-75 unofficially.
By round nine, Doheny’s nose became a greater mess and the welts began running into each other along his brow. Roman became merciless to the body as his head finally cleared. Roman hurt his man and buckled his legs late in the round. Doheny gasped for air as his ribs clearly became an Achilles heel for him. Each man fought on guided by undeterred will. Roman remained committed to the body attack while Doheny left hook still remained a potential tide turning weapon. In the eleventh, Doheny wilted and found himself on the canvas and in serious trouble. He winced his way back to his feet, but even jabs were harming him in the final frame. Out of pure spite, Doheny heard the final bell. Roman unified the titles by a clear count of 117-110 at SecondsOut.
The official scores awarded Roman unified titles by a majority decision of 116-112 twice and 113-113. Roman’s win positioned him for total unification against Rey Vargas later this year. His resume advanced to 27-2-1 (10). Doheny too advanced his status even after absorbing his first defeat to fall to 21-1-0 (15).