Angel Fierro was perhaps a bit too ambitious in calling out the lightweight elite prior during fight week.
To his credit, the rising contender did his best to provide evidence that he’s ready for the next level.
The ferocious punching Fierro sent Uruguay’s Eduardo Estela to the canvas en route to a seventh-round knockout. Estela was down twice in round four before the third knockdown produced an immediate stoppage at 2:59 of round seven in their DAZN headliner Saturday evening at Polideportivo Juan S. Millan in Culiacan, Mexico.
The main event trailed a highlight reel knockout provided by Eduardo Nunez in the evening’s co-feature. Fierro entered the ring with every intention of at least matching that energy. The merciless punching lightweight threw heat right from the opening bell, as Estela was forced to contend with a hailstorm of right hands and left hooks. Fierro was warned in the first minute of the bout for hitting on the break, though the Tijuana native seemed unbothered by the moment.
Estela showed a world class chin in a round two that could have easily been scored 10-8 for Fierro, even without a knockdown. Fierro grew more determined to close the show after losing a point for hitting behind the head. Estela was pinned along the ropes when Fierro unloaded with right hands upstairs and left hooks to the body. Estela was out on his feet late in the round but managed to withstand two more hooks to the body as he made it to the bell.
A left hook by Estela late in round three sent a reminder to Fierro that there remained work to be done. It came after Fierro slowed down ever so slightly and utilized his jab more. Fierro connected with a left hook to the body and brought the same shot upstairs. A right hand by Fierro caused swelling around Estela’s left eye.
Fierro’s power finally caused a dent as Estela was floored twice in the final minute of round four. A left hook by Fierro produced the first knockdown of the night, as Estela hit the deck right around the one-minute mark. The visiting boxer beat the count and responded with a left hook but was quickly back under siege. Fierro slammed home a right uppercut just before the bell, not even able to launch a left hook as Estela fell under the bottom rope and nearly out of the ring. Estela beat the count and made it to his corner, though miserably behind on the cards.
Chants of ‘Me-Xi-Co’ filled the intimate venue as Fierro sought to close the show in round five. Estela blocked out the noise and managed to crack Fierro with a one-two. The sequence paved the way for what was by far Estela’s best round to that point as he continued to land right hands. The effects were evident, as a mouse developed under the right eye of Fierro.
A right hand by Fierro barely missed the mark early in round six, though Estela briefly lost his footing and fell to the canvas. The sequence was accurately ruled a slip but his offense suddenly slowed after such a big fifth round rally. Fierro offered slick head movement on the inside, ducking right hands but unable to immediately make him pay. Estela was pinned in the ropes as Fierro threw in combination late in the round.
Fierro finally managed to break down the durable Estela. A left hook in the closing seconds of round seven left Estela out on his feet with two more power punches causing his final trip to the canvas. No count was issued, as ringside physicians raced to the ring to tend to his health and eventually assist him to sit upright on a stool.
Estela fell to 14-2 (9KOs), though he can leave Mexico with his head held high after a brave showing that should earn more airtime.
Fierro improved to 21-1-2 (17KOs) with the win and is now unbeaten in his last six starts. The victory comes on the heels of a sixth-round knockout of Philadelphia’s Jeremy Cuevas on DAZN last October 22 in Mexico City. His demand to face the likes of undisputed champion Devin Haney (29-0, 15KOs), former three-division champ Vasiliy Lomachenko or secondary WBA titlist Gervonta Davis (28-0, 26KOs) appear far too ambitious on the surface, though he has certainly emerged as must-see TV.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox