Juan Francisco Estrada and Joshua Franco will have one more day to reach terms for their title consolidation fight.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that a 24-hour extension has been granted by the World Boxing Association (WBA), thus postponing Monday’s originally scheduled purse bid hearing for the junior bantamweight title fight.
For now, the new purse bid is due to take place Tuesday afternoon, as conducted by the WBA via Zoom conference call. The minimum accepted bid is $120,000, with all purse bid participants required to submit a non-refundable $5,000 fee.
The winning amount will be split 75/25 in favor of Estrada (42-3, 28KOs) as the WBA ‘Super’ champion.
Franco (18-1-2, 8KOs) was guaranteed a shot at the ‘Super’ title (along with Estrada’s lineal championship) dating back to his repeat win over Andrew Moloney last August 14 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The feat marked the second defense of the secondary WBA ‘World’ junior bantamweight title he claimed in a twelve-round win over Moloney in June 2020, with a bizarre No-Decision in November 2020 wedged in the middle of their trilogy.
Immediately after their third fight, the WBA announced that Franco was first in line to challenge a then-scheduled rubber match between Mexico’s Estrada and Nicaragua’s legendary former four-division champ Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (51-3, 41KOs). The ruling camo as the WBA was in the process of an aggressive—though forced—campaign to reduce its number of recognized titlists.
Estrada-Gonzalez III was initially due to take place last October 16, only for Gonzalez to test positive for Covid. Estrada tested positive for the infectious disease this past January, forcing him to withdraw from their rescheduled March 5 clash in San Diego. Gonzalez went on to face WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez (18-2, 14KOs; 2NC), whom he defeated via unanimous decision in a non-title junior bantamweight bout.
The delay was unfortunate enough for Estrada to both miss out on a trilogy clash with Gonzalez and leave himself subjected to a mandatory title defense. The WBA ordered the fight on February 9, with the March 11 deadline coming and going without a deal in place. Extra time was granted for the two sides to come to terms, which seemed reasonable considering they are the two primary content providers to sports streaming service DAZN.
Nearly a month later, an agreement has yet to be reached despite speculation of such a fight taking place in June or July in Franco’s hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn has openly discussed the possibility of staging a doubleheader with Estrada-Franco and newly crowned WBC junior bantamweight titlist Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (15-0, 10KOs), Franco’s younger brother who is due to face former two-time champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43KOs) in a mandatory title defense.
That arrangement will have to either come through a WBA purse bid or within the two-week period ahead of that session.
Estrada inherited Franco as a mandatory challenger following his disputed, split decision win over Gonzalez last March 13 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The win—however widely criticized—avenged a loss to Gonzalez in a November 2012 junior flyweight title fight. Estrada went on to enjoy a unified title reign at flyweight and has served as lineal junior bantamweight champ since outpointing Sor Rungvisai in their April 2019 rematch, 14 months after dropping a tightly contested decision to the Thai southpaw.
Three successful defenses have since followed for Estrada, including the disputed win over Gonzalez in his most recent fight. Estrada accepted designation as WBC “Franchise” champion in exchange for making the physical belt available and now in the possession of Rodriguez. He still holds the WBA belt, and with it the commitment to next defend versus Franco to avoid being stripped of the crown.
Franco is unbeaten in his last eight starts, which has included two separate trilogies and three bouts that failed to produce a winner. A three-fight series with Oscar Negrete saw Franco go 1-0-2 over a ten month stretch before going on to face and knock out Jose Burgos in a January 2020 clash at Alamodome in his San Antonio hometown. He then moved on to the three-fight set with Moloney, always with the intention of next challenging the division’s elite fighters.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox