Plenty was going on both sides of the pond this weekend with fighters of varying abilities sliding up and down the great game of boxing snakes and ladders.
Headlining in The Forum, Inglewood, on Friday night, elite super-flyweight pairing Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada picked up where they left off 14 months and 12 rounds ago. On that occasion, the bout ended in a majority decision win for Sor Rungvisai (boxing as his gym name, his real name being Wisaksil Wangek). Determined to leave nothing to chance, Estrada came out a lot more aggressively than in the first meeting. Whenever Sor Rungvisai ducked down to attack the body (particularly with his staple left hook), Estrada was waiting to come up with hooks and catch him. Srisaket was always leaning in, reaching for Estrada. It gave off a visual impression that he was chasing the fight. Grasping to stay in touch.
The Thai WBC champion waved his foe in for a fight in round seven; a surefire sign that he was growing increasingly frustrated. Unperturbed, Estrada was busy winning the boxing match and the brawl. Sor Rungvisai was, for the most part, too slow to close the gap. Estrada’s speed of hand and foot, combined with his reliable gas tank, meant he was able to close out the show. Sor Rungvisai bizarrely preferred to box orthodox rather than in his more natural southpaw stance. Turning southpaw garnered slightly more success, but I had Estrada a wide 117-111 winner (nine rounds to three). The judges had it tighter at 115-113 (twice) and a more palatable 116-112.
Over in Wembley, the heavyweight behemoths were stealing the show on Frank Warren’s latest offering. Outside of the ring, they might not generate much of a buzz, but inside the ropes both Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce let their action do the talking. After signing with promoter Frank Warren, it appears that Joyce could be on a collision course with Dubois, with whom he sort of initiated a confrontation at ringside on Saturday night. Dubois had just polished off the eccentric, yet technically limited, Ghanaian Richard Lartey after four rounds of surprisingly wild entertainment.
Dubois had been seemingly on a pathway to fight Nathan Gorman. That will probably still be the target as Joyce seeks European title opportunities. If both can remain unbeaten, then it is leading towards an intriguing fight for the future.
If ever a scoreline suited a fight it was the draw between Robert Easter Jr and Rances Barthelemy in the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan. Both men seemed intent on finding a way to do not quite enough to win the rounds as each three-minute session rolled by like a large bale of tumbleweed. Barthelemy is notorious for not throwing enough punches. Easter Jr is decent, but something is missing. When he needs to find that extra gear, or step inside and let go with hard shots to cement his position, it is just not there. Whether lacking in confidence or experience, at least Adrien Broner isn’t hanging around Easter’s training camps or at ringside. That has to be a bonus.
Throughout the broadcast, Showtime analyst and ex-world champion Paulie Malignaggi was spot on as usual. Barthelemy often offered a flashy touch jab, drawing a lead from Easter but then not countering off it. It doesn’t take much to frustrate or confuse Easter, which is why Barthelemy’s inactivity was surprising. Through round six Barthelemy had landed 21 punches to Easter’s 25. By the end, both men had doubled their stats to around the 50 mark. It was just one of those kinds of fights. No rematch needed, thank you.