So far in 2018, the most important boxing matches have taken place at cruiserweight. This weekend we get another super fight in an often over-looked division, as Wisaksil Wangek takes on Juan Francisco Estrada.
Thailand’s Wangek exploded out of obscurity last year. In March 2017, he defeated then pound-for-pound No. 1 Roman Gonzalez by majority decision in an all-out war. Six month later he came back in the rematch and knocked Gonzalez out in Round 4.
Terence Crawford was my own choice for 2017 Fighter of the Year, because he unified every belt out there at 140 pounds. Wangek was my second choice on that ballot.
Things won’t necessarily get any easier for him this weekend at the historic Forum in Inglewood, when he faces Juan Francisoco Estrada. If you are a casual fan, you might not know who Estrada is. If you are one of the hardcore, you realize the Mexican is arguably a pound-for-pound top 10 fighter.
Estrada has two losses on his professional record. The first came when in he was 21, in an eight-round fight against Juan Carlos Sanchez, a world-class opponent. He stopped Sanchez in a rematch seven months later.
Estrada’s other loss came in November 2012, against Gonzalez. Estrada drained himself to make 108 pounds and still gave Gonzalez the toughest fight anybody gave him prior to his move all the way to 115 pounds.
After that loss to Gonzalez, Estrada went back to 112 pounds and mowed down a murderer’s row of flyweights. He beat Brian Viloria by split decision–a fight that he clearly won. He beat Milan Melindo, Richie Mepranum and Giovani Segura, all top contenders in the division. I’d argue that in 2013 and 2014, nobody had a better record within a single division.
If Wangek had not upset Gonzalez, the demand for a rematch between Gonzalez and Estrada would be high. So this is one of the best fights that can be made right now at 115 pounds.