Seniesa Estrada is set to wrap up what has been the most memorable year of her career to date.
It hardly means that the best is not yet to come.
The unbeaten two-division titlist returns to strawweight for the first defense of her WBA title, as she faces unbeaten Maria Santizo (9-0, 5KOs). The bout is the third title fight of 2021 for Estrada (21-0, 8KOs), who won belts at 105 and 108 pounds in consecutive fights and isn't done collecting hardware.
“This has been an amazing year,” Estrada told BoxingScene.com. “I won world titles at two weights, I thought I was going to fight a unification with another strawweight champion. But I am looking forward to that, hopefully in my next fight as long as everything goes right (on Saturday).
“By next year, I want to be undisputed strawweight champion on my way to becoming undisputed champion at (junior flyweight). That begins with doing my job on (Saturday), as (Santizo) is coming to take my world title. She stands in my way of everything I still want to accomplish.”
The title unification bout to which Estrada refers was a desired showdown with IBF strawweight titlist Yokasta Valle (22-2, 9KOs), who fittingly also fights tonight but in another country. Valle defends her belt against Elizabeth Lopez atop a show in her hometown of San Jose, Costa Rica. It comes months after Valle—who is with California-based MarvNation Promotions—toured the Southern California area in hopes of securing a two-belt fight with Estrada.
It never came to fruition, though both boxers have different versions for why that was the case. Meanwhile, Estrada keeps the line moving.
Saturday marks her first fight back since becoming a two-division titlist with a ten-round decision over WBO junior flyweight titlist Tenkai Tsunami just five months ago in Los Angeles. The bout served as the chief support to a DAZN show headlined by unbeaten former super middleweight titlist Gilberto Ramirez (42-0, 28KOs), with the same format in place Saturday evening at AT&T Center in San Antonio. Ramirez tops the bill in a light heavyweight title eliminator against Miami’s Yunieski Gonzalez, with Estrada aiming to retain her strawweight title in the co-feature.
From there, Estrada will have a hard decision to make.
She was able to persuade the WBO to allow her to retain two-division title status at least through Saturday’s contest. At some point, the sanctioning body will want to know her plans to return to the division. A title unification bout could prompt a return three pounds back up the scale, as Estrada aspires to become a three-division champion.
However, that goal also comes with serving as undisputed champion at each of those weights. It could mean remaining put in the 105-pound division, particularly if a fight with Valle works its way back around in the first quarter of 2022—the other key is to remain active and fight at least three or four times per year. Given the demands of the sanctioning bodies, it’s the only way to retain all the titles she plans to add to her collection.
“I know (Santizo) is coming here to take my belt from me,” acknowledges Estrada. She’s undefeated, I can’t overlook her, I don’t overlook any opponent. I know the threat she poses and I’m ready for it."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox