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Juan Francisco Estrada is a star in the making

Juan Francisco Estrada
Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA
But Juan Francisco Estrada will need tougher tests than this to shine brightly, writes Jack Hirsch

SOMETIMES the most minor of details can be revealing. At the press conference in New York, to announce Gennady Golovkin’s fight with Sergiy Derevyanchenko at Madison Square Garden, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn took the microphone to speak of DAZN’s future boxing programming. He then shortlisted the most prominent fighters the streaming outlet has plans for. Among those Hearn named was WBC super-flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada. Although Estrada, 29, is not yet the big name that others mentioned by Hearn, the expectation is that he will someday get there. And Estrada did nothing to dissuade that thought a few days later when he successfully defended his title by stopping North Carolina’s Dewayne Beamon at 51 seconds of the ninth round.

This was a homecoming fight for the champion from Sonora, but the environment did not intimidate the American – his last six contests took place in Mexico.

Beamon, 33, entered the ring confidently. His histrionics during the fight were of a fighter who felt he would win but the reality would be the opposite. Fast, pesky and determined he might have been, but he was lacking in technical ability. Estrada was simply too much of a polished professional to ever be seriously challenged.

After a close opening session, Beamon’s dream started to evaporate when he suffered a pair of flash knockdowns in the second. Although Beamon argued they were slips, punches did land. From that point on it was a furious game of catch up for him.

Estrada applied pressure and continued to add to his lead, but Beamon, who only turned pro at 30, rallied in the fifth and sixth forcing Estrada to the ropes for prolonged periods. Beamon would land a nice right now and then, but Estrada had no trouble weathering the light storm coming his way. Beamon soon started to unravel again.

The champion’s body punches were taking a toll. Beamon walked unsteadily to his corner after getting hit with a chopping right to the chin before the bell rang to end the seventh. His heart carried him into the ninth round, when he finally ran out of steam and slumped on the ropes under sustained pressure. Referee Abdiel Barragan stepped in.

Juan Francisco Estrada
Estrada is victorious in Mexico Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

Liverpool’s Liam Smith got hit more than he should have in his seventh-round stoppage of Mario Lozano, but it was the price to pay for daring to do something special and stop the rock-jawed Mexican. No small trick considering that quality names like Vanes Martirosyan and Jermell Charlo had failed to do so in the past.

To achieve the feat the former WBO super-welterweight champion applied relentless pressure throughout. He was tagged with hard blows coming forward, but they never slowed him down. Smith was able to maintain the torrid pace, Lozano was not.

Among the 12,000 plus at the CUM (Zanfer Promotions/Matchroom) were the fighting Smith brothers, there to give their sibling support.

Smith’s work rate had him solidly in front through five rounds, with the breakthrough occurring late in the sixth when a left hook to the body dropped Lozano for a count of seven. Between rounds Lozano’s body language was of a man who was well beaten. Smith sensed that as well by upping the ante at the start of the next round. Lozano was overpowered along the ropes and taking heavy punishment when he was pulled out at 1-02 by referee Porfirio Penato. It was scheduled for 10 rounds.

Jono Carroll did well in his first outing since unsuccessfully challenging Tevin Farmer for the IBF lightweight title last March. The man from Dublin took complete control of the contest from the fifth on to cruise to a unanimous 10-round decision over Eleazar Valenzuela that was scored 98-92 across the board by judges’ Ernesto Almaraz, Alejandro Espinoza, and Bartholome Ortiz. Gabriel Lopez refereed.

Carroll was quite animated round after round, ripping off fast combinations to the body. His head movement and jab impressed as well. The Mexican, after making a promising start, shut down in the second half of the fight and followed Carroll around the ring, allowing him to dictate. Southpaw Carroll out-sped Valenzuela, but never seriously hurt him. Carroll is not a renowned puncher, but that did not stop him from predicting a fifth-round stoppage. Nevertheless, getting back on the winning track had to feel good to him.

Heavyweight starlet Filip Hrgovic from Croatia, a 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, picked apart Mexico City’s Mario Heredia, stopping him at 43 seconds of the third round of a 10.

Hrgovic was slow and mechanical, but able to find holes in the ponderous Heredia’s defense. Heredia, a stocky man, put his full weight behind the body punches he threw, but by the second round was complaining excessively to referee Abdiel Barragan.

After complaining he was hit behind the head, Heredia went back to the ropes seemingly ready to surrender. Hrgovic made that decision easier by drilling him with a left hook. Heredia went down, got up, and it was stopped.

Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov spectacularly knocked out former contender Darleys Perez after just 41 seconds of the first round. Giyasov connected with a left hook that sent Perez down by the ropes. It looked like the Colombian could have made more of an effort to rise before referee Francisco Laveara reached 10, but of course that is easy to say when you are on the other side of the ropes.

The Verdict Estrada eases to victory while Smith and Carroll impress on the undercard.

FULL RESULTS
Juan Francisco Estrada (114 1/2lbs), 40-3 (27), w rsf 9 Dewayne Beamon (114 1/2lbs), 16-2-1 (11); Filip Hrgovic (243 1/2lbs), 9-0 (7), w rsf 3 Mario Heredia (274 1/2lbs), 16-7-1 (13); Liam Smith (160lbs), 28-2-1 (16), w rsf 7 Mario Lozano (159lbs), 33-10 (24); Shakhram Giyasnov (140lbs), 9-0 (7), w rsf 1 Darleys Perez (140lbs), 34-5-2 (22); Jono Carroll (133 1/2lbs), 17-1-1 (3), w pts 10 Eleazar Valenzuela (135 1/2lbs), 20-12-4 (16); Irving Turrubiates (125lbs), 21-0 (13), w pts 10 Neil John Tabano (125lbs), 17-7 (11); Diego Pacheco (166lbs), 5-0 (4), w rsf 1 Jose Esparza (166lbs), 1-1; Alexis Espino (165lbs), 4-0 (3), w rsf 3 Oscar Soto (165lbs), 1-2.

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