The most anticipated fight of the 1st quarter now has a home and a strong undercard in tow.
The long-awaited rematch between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez will headline a loaded March 13 fight card to take place at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The venue was confirmed on Friday by Matchroom Boxing, who also announced two fights added to the card which will air live on DAZN.
Also now included on the show is another rematch, as two-division and undisputed welterweight queen Jessica McCaskill once again faces former champ Cecilia Braekhus.
The two will meet seven months after headlining Matchroom’s first U.S.-based card since the pandemic, which took place last August in Tulsa, Oklahoma. McCaskill claimed a competitive 10-round decision to score one of the year’s biggest upsets, ending one of the longest title reigns in boxing history along with Braekhus’ claim to the pound-for-pound throne.
On the male side, Hiroto Kyoguchi makes his U.S. and Matchroom debut as he defends his junior flyweight title versus Axel Aragon Vega (14-3-1).
Kyoguchi (14-0, 9KOs) attempts the third defense of the 108-pound tile he claimed in a 10th round knockout of Hekkie Budler to become a two-division champion in Dec. 2018. The 27-year old from Tokyo has not fought since a 12-round win over Tetsuya Hisada in October 2019. A planned title defense versus Thailand’s Thankongsak Simsri last November was canceled after Kyoguchi tested positive for COVID-19.
Good news followed the bad, as Kyoguchi entered a promotional pact with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and a managerial agreement with Eddy Reynoso.
Aragon Vega enters his second career title fight, coming on the heels of big news of his own. The 20-year old Mexican contender recently signed a promotional agreement with Felix ‘Tutico’ Zabala’s All-Star Boxing, with the two sides having worked together in Aragon Vega’s 10-round win over former title challenger Saul ‘Baby’ Juarez on Telemundo last August.
Headlining the show, Estrada (41-3, 28KOs) and Gonzalez (50-2, 41KOs) collide more than eight years after their memorable Nov. 2012 war, which a then-unbeaten Gonzalez won by 12-round decision in the final defense of his 108-pound title. Championship wins at flyweight and junior bantamweight followed, along with accolades as the sport’s recognized pound-for-pound king.
Gonzalez’s glory days came to a crashing halt following back-to-back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, ending his 115-pound title reign. The Nicaraguan legend has since claimed another belt at the weight, stopping unbeaten Kal Yafai in the 9th round of their title clash last February in nearby Frisco, Texas. One title defense has since followed, a 12-round win over perennial Top 10 contender Israel Gonzalez.
Estrada has won titles at flyweight and junior bantamweight, the latter where he is the recognized lineal champion. That distinction came virtue of a 12-round win over Sor Rungvisai in their April 2019 rematch, coming 14 months after dropping a tightly contested decision in their Feb. 2018 championship war.
Estrada has since made two successful defenses, including an off-the-canvas 11th round knockout of Carlos Cuadras in their rematch last October. The bout headlined a DAZN-aired tripleheader from Mexico City which also housed Gonzalez’s aforementioned title defense.
The announcement of the show gives the American Airlines Center its second significant card of 2021. The home of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks hosted the first boxing card of the new year, headlined by rising lightweight Ryan Garcia in a breakout 7th round knockout of England’s Luke Campbell. Both fighters hit the deck in their Jan. 2nd interim lightweight title fight which further enhanced Garcia’s growing star status.
“This is a huge night of boxing in Dallas,” said Eddie Hearn, managing director of Matchroom Sport. “Cecilia and Jessica will put it all on the line in their rematch for the undisputed Welterweight title and Hirotu is a fighter that I am excited to see explode onto the big stage under the guidance of his manager Eddy Reynoso and Matchroom.
“With a brilliant main event in the rematch between Estrada and Chocolatito and plenty of young talents to be added to the card, this is an unmissable feast of fights for the fans in Dallas and on DAZN.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox