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Juan Francisco Estrada fends off game Argi Cortes to retain title and secure Chocolatito trilogy

Estrada-Cortes_03092022 Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

With a Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez trilogy looming, Juan Francisco Estrada returned to the ring to face Argi Cortes on Saturday from Hermosillo, Mexico. A win and the trilogy would be signed, sealed, and delivered. 

Cortes didn't make it easy as he hung in there tougher than expected. Still, Estrada showed why he's perhaps the best super flyweight in the world by dropping and using his power advantage to win a unanimous decision (115-112, 115-112, 114-113) to retain the Ring Magazine title. DAZN scored the fight 116-111 for Estrada. 

During his post-fight interview, it was revealed that Estrada and Gonzalez would meet for the third time on Saturday, Dec. 3. A site wasn't announced. 

Estrada (43-3, 26 KOs) came out boxing well despite the 17-month layoff. He was throwing combinations, landing power shots, and was on the verge of putting Cortes away. 

But Estrada took his foot slightly off the gas pedal, and Cortes took advantage. Then, the sizable underdog started landing power shots of his own, moving Estrada back and fighting on the inside to let Estrada know if he was going to win and move on to his next challenge, he would have to earn it. 

Estrada rose to the occasion and in the seventh round, dropped Cortes with a vicious body shot. From there, Estrada continued his relentless attack and fended off Cortes' pursuit of a knockout in the final two rounds to extend his winning streak.

Here is what happened at Juan Francisco vs. Argi Cortes. 
 

 

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Juan Francisco Estrada retains the gold

Juan Francisco Estrada def. Argi Cortes by unanimous decision (115-112, 115-112, 114-113) to retain the Ring Magazine super flyweight title.  

Estrada-Cortes; Round 12

Estrada comes out with a flush right hand. Cortes is looking for it all but swings and misses. Combination by Estrada. An exchange of lefts. Good right hand from Estrada. Cortes fires a right of his own. A combination from Estrada. Right hook by Cortes. Three-punch combo from Estrada. A combination from Cortes. Straight right for Estrada. A right for Estrada. Great fight. (10-9 Estrada, 116-111 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 11

Combination to begin the 11th for Cortes. Sweeping right hand from Cortes. Straight right snaps Cortes' head back. Right to the body for Cortes. Solid hook from Cortes. Left to the body from Estrada. But Cortes comes back with a combination. A right by Estrada. Down to the last three minutes. (10-9 Cortes, 106-102 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 10

Stinging left jab to begin the championship rounds for Estrada. A right for Cortes. Double left for Cortes. Another left for Cortes. Combination for Cortes. Straight for Estrada. A right by Estrada. A left hook to the body from Cortes followed with a nice right hand. (10-9 Cortes, 97-92 Cortes)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 9

Combination for Cortes. A counter right from Cortes. Right for Estrada. Combination and then a right for Estrada. But Cortes comes back with a left. A right and then a left from Estrada. (10-9 Estrada, 88-82 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 8

Estrada is going back to the body. Left to the body followed by a left hook for the champion. Short right for Estrada. Double jab for Cortes. good body shot from Cortes. Left hook flush on Cortes' chin. Right hook for Cortes. Crisp left hook by Estrada. Counter left hook for Estrada followed by a combination to close the round. (10-9 Estrada, 78-73 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 7

A right rocks Cortes back. Stinging straight right from Estrada. Another right rocks Cortes, who is in retreat mode. A right hook and a right uppercut buckles Cortes. Cortes follows with a right. A laser right by Estrada. Left to the body for Cortes. Right down the middle and a body shot sends Cortes to the canvas. 

Estrada is pouring it on, but Cortes is surviving. What a turnaround for Estrada. (10-8 Estrada, 68-64 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 6

A left down the middle from Estrada. Hard left from Cortes. Hard left from Cortes pauses Estrada for a moment. Right to the body for Estrada. A three-punch combination by Cortes. A left sends Estrada back. Left to the body from Cortes. Cracking left hook for Estrada. A right followed by a left for Estrada. A right backs up Estrada. A jab and a left by Cortes at the bell to halt the momentum Estrada had appeared to gain back. 

(10-9 Cortes, 58-56 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 5

Double left to start the fifth for Estrada. An uppercut from Cortes followed by a stiff jab. Cortes is popping the jab. A one-two from Cortes. A combination from Estrada. 

Estrada fires back with a barrage of power shots to stun Cortes. The fight has flipped back to the champion. A combination for Cortes but Estrada rocks him again with the right hand. Best round of the fight thus far. Great action. (10-9 Estrada, 49-46 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 4

Exchange of jabs. Digging left hook to the body for Estrada. A great right hand for Cortes. A combination for Estrada. Double jab for Cortes. Another stiff jab for Cortes. Double left from Cortes. Combination and a series of right hands from Cortes. Estrada fires back with a right. A right-hand cracks Estrada that sends him back. Very good finish to the round for the underdog. (10-9 Cortes, 39-37 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 3

Overhand right for Estrada. Straight right snaps Cortes' head back. A combination by Estrada. Cortes is swinging and missing. A stiff body shot from Estrada to buckle Cortes' knees. A left to the body by Cortes. Two rights over the top for Estrada. A one-two for Estrada. A couple of flush shots for Cortes. He's going to go out on his shield.

Stiff left hook for Estrada to close out the round. (10-9 Estrada, 30-27 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 2

Straight right to begin the second for Estrada. An exchange of left hands. A left uppercut by Cortes. Double left for Estrada. Hard right hook for Estrada. Best punch of the fight thus far. Sweeping left hook stuns Cortes. Estrada seems to have found his rhythm. (10-9 Estrada, 20-18 Estrada)

Estrada-Cortes; Round 1

Estrada comes right to the middle with two left jabs. Crisp left hook for Estrada. Double left hand by Estrada. Right hand over the top for Estrada. A good uppercut for Estrada. A right uppercut for Cortes. Estrada needs to stay focused and not fall asleep at the wheel. An up jab for Cortes, but Estrada fires right back with two lefts and a right hook. An Estrada round, but Cortes made a good accounting for himself in the opening three minutes. (10-9 Estrada)

Main event time

It's time for the main event as Juan Francisco Estrada (42-3, 26 KOs) battles Argi Cortes (23-2-2, 10 KOs) for Estrada's Ring Magazine Super Flyweight title. 

A fight with major implications for Estrada. Can he stay focused on the task at hand? We are about to find out. 

Erika Cruz wins lopsided decision to retain title

Cruz def. Mrdjenovich by unanimous decision (100-90, 100-90, 100-90) to retain the WBA Women's Featherweight title.

Not the biggest fan of the scorecards. Obviously, Cruz won, but Mrdjenovich definitely won a couple of rounds. It was a complete boxing performance from Cruz. She was crisper, fighting more on the inside, and landed the harder shots to successfully defend her title.

Co-main event time

It's time for the co-main event as Erika Cruz (14-1, 3 KOs) takes on Jelena Mrdjenovich (41-11-2, 19 KOs) for Cruz's WBA Women's Featherweight title.

Sivenathi Nontshinga claims IBF title in a classic with Hector Flores

Nontshinga def. Flores by split decision (112-115, 116-111, 114-113) to win the IBF junior flyweight title. 

An unbelievable fight and one of the best of 2022. We saw nonstop action for 36 minutes, with neither guy taking a backseat. It was a hard fight to score, but it came down to the second-round knockdown for Nontshinga that was the difference in capturing his first major world championship.

Nonstop action through five

Flores and Nontshinga are putting on a show with nonstop action through five rounds. Can they continue to keep the frentic pace?  

Down goes Flores in round two

First title fight

Coming up at Estrada vs. Cortes is Hector Flores (20-0-4, 10 KOs) meeting Sivenathi Nontshinga (10-0, 9 KOs) for the vacant IBF Junior Flyweight title.

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