Juan Francisco Estrada’s return fight is official, as he will face Argi Cortes on Saturday, Sept. 3, headlining a DAZN-broadcast event from Hermosillo, Mexico.
Estrada (42-3, 28 KO) doesn’t hold any of the four sanctioning body titles at 115 lbs anymore, as he has was “promoted” to the WBC’s fake “Franchise” designation following his Mar. 2021 split decision win over Chocolatito Gonzalez, and recently gave up the WBA belt in order to pursue this fight and, ultimately, a trilogy bout with Chocolatito either late this year or in early 2023. He is, however, still the Ring Magazine champion, for whatever that’s worth.
The 32-year-old Estrada will be a huge favorite over Cortes (23-2-2, 10 KO). The 27-year-old’s two losses came in his third and fourth fights back in 2014-15, and he’s won 11 straight at the moment, but they’ve all been against marginal opposition, and Estrada is a massive step up for him.
“It’s great to be back and I’m very excited that I’ll get to fight in front of all the Sonoran fans and in front of my growing family,” said Estrada. “Whenever two Mexicans go at it you can always expect a war and this fight against Cortes will be another great Mexican battle in Hermosillo. We’re ready to put on another great show and get back in action to show the fans that ‘El Gallo’ is one of the best in boxing.”
“I’m very excited for this great opportunity to fight Estrada,” said Cortes. “I will give everything I have for the victory; I will surprise the world. I have Mr. Nacho Beristain in my corner and we have a great game plan to defeat a legend like Estrada.”
Erika Cruz (14-1, 3 KO) will defend her WBA featherweight title in a rematch with the woman she beat for it, Jelena Mrdjenovich (41-11-2, 19 KO). The first bout came in Apr. 2021 on the short-lived Ring City USA series on the now-dead NBC Sports Network. Mrdjenovich had held the belt for five years before the upset loss. Cruz hasn’t fought since last November, when she beat Melissa Esquivel, but Mrdjenovich has been out since losing to Cruz.
“I am so excited to get back in the ring,” said Cruz. “I want to retire Jelena once it for all and go after the unification fight!”
“I’m really excited to get back into the ring again,” said Mrdjenovich. “We have been working hard to put this fight together for some time.”
The vacant IBF flyweight title will be on the line, too, as Hector Flores (20-0-4, 10 KO) faces South Africa’s Sivenathi Nontshinga (10-0, 9 KO).
Nontshinga stands just 4’11”, but will have a reach advantage over the 5’4” Flores, and is a unique and tough fighter at the weight. He went a full 12 in his last fight, edging a decision over Christian Araneta at home in Gqeberha, despite being dropped in the 12th round. Flores turned heads with a sixth round knockout of Jay Harris last November in Cardiff, Wales, and then had to survive an eight-round split decision win over a 13-8 fighter this past April in Mexico.
In the fourth featured bout on the card, Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez (32-1, 29 KO) takes on Jorge Mata (14-0-2, 10 KO) in a junior lightweight bout. Hernandez, once a prized prospect, suffered a first round stoppage loss to Roger Gutierrez in 2019, but has come back strong, and blasted Jorge Castaneda out in one in June. The 21-year-old Mata is taking a good step up in class here.