In 2016 Ronda Rousey became just the second woman (and first UFC fighter) to grace the legendary Ring Magazine cover (Cathy “Cat” Davis being the first), an honor typically bestowed upon the world’s best boxers.
A significant uproar ensued in the boxing community as a number of excellent female champions were named out as deserving candidates to grace the cover instead of the star of another sport.
However, the fact that an MMA fighter was featured on boxing’s premier publication wasn’t an indictment on any of the great women boxers we had and have in the sport, but instead an indictment on the promotion of the fighters. There have been plenty of dominant women boxers with superstar potential that didn’t break into the public consciousness in the same way Rousey had in the 2010’s.
In 2021, women’s boxing appears to be headed towards a golden period with a number of compelling champions with superstar potential.
Last week, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with a fighter who could be the brightest of the bunch: Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada (20-0, 8 KOs), leading into her fight on July 9.
A Champion for Representation
A current and undefeated world champion, Estrada always had a deep familial love for boxing, starting when she was only six-years-old watching fights with her father.
“It’s just something I knew immediately that it was something I wanted to do,” said Estrada.
As a young girl, however, Seniesa found difficulty gaining entry into a sport that was mostly reserved for boys and young men. The first time Estrada found her way to a gym she was told to leave as a boxing gym was no place for a young girl. Estrada left, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t return.
“Yeah it discouraged me and I cried,” laughed Estrada. “But it still didn’t stop my determination to start boxing and not stop.”
Once she was able to finally start boxing, the future champion wouldn’t stop anytime soon.
“It was everything I imagined it would be,” said Estrada. “I just completely fell in love with it.”
Seniesa experienced isolation as a female boxer in Los Angeles at the time of her entrance into the sport.
“When I first started boxing, I was the only girl walking into every gym in LA,” the champion noted. “I didn’t really have that female to look up to when I was coming up as a kid.”
Seniesa noted that she had an awareness of the pioneers of women boxers like Leila Ali, Lucia Rijker, and Christy Martin, but came into boxing at a lull period of women’s boxing.
“There was a whole decade when women’s boxing was completely dead,” said Estrada. “I had to look up to male fighters, which isn’t the same as looking up to another female who looks just like you, and is doing the same thing as you with the same passion in the same sport.”
Now, as a world champion, Super Bad holds pride in her visibility to young girls aspiring to become world champions like her.
“To be that person now for other girls and women is so incredible,” said Estrada. “It’s just a great feeling.”
A Crossover Star
When speaking to Seniesa, it doesn’t take long for her high aspirations, both in and outside of the ring, to peer through. With her success inside of the ring and her popularity outside of it, don’t be surprised to see Estrada in other professional areas in the very near future.
“There’s so many other things I want to do outside of the ring as well,” said Estrada, who recently wrote a children’s book which will be published. “It’s something that shows another side of who I am, and is something that can help other people.”
Like other stars with visibility, Estrada is also interested in a future of acting, but was quick to note that all of her other pursuits will always be put after boxing.
“I put everything aside when I’m preparing for a fight,” said Estrada. “Everything else will fall in line when the time is right.”
Estrada, already having obtained the WBA Minimumweight belt along with an interim WBC Flyweight title, is now competing for a belt in a third weight division in the form of the WBO Light Flyweight title. Super Bad stated her comfort in each of the divisions, and her desire to acquire belts across all three.
“I wanted to unify at 105, but we weren’t able to do that,” said Estrada, “Good thing for me is that I want to win titles at 108, so we’re taking a world title there.”
Beyond her accomplishments in the ring, which are plenty impressive, Estrada fights in a fan appeasing style, scoring knockdowns and knockouts in a number of her fights, including the fastest knockout of all time against Miranda Adkins in July of 2020, dismantling her opponent with two clean, three-punch combinations which separated Adkins from consciousness in just seven seconds.
Fighting at Home
Matching her accomplishments with excitement and intrigue in and outside of the ring, Estrada will continue to grow in her already rising stardom. For now, however, Estrada is focussed on putting on a show for her hometown fans in Los Angeles on July 9.
“I feel like I haven’t fought in LA in years!” exclaimed Estrada. “It’s always great fighting at home… you get to have your friends, your fans, and family come out to support. It gives me more motivation to put on a great show.”
Estrada noted that the excitement of fighting at home won’t impact her game plan or add to the pressure, but instead motivate her to continue winning and move her forward in her career.
Don’t be surprised to see an impressive performance from Estrada come July 9, live on DAZN. And, if you haven’t already, now is the time to buy proverbial “stock” in the young champ’s career that could culminate in crossover star power.
You can catch the full Interview on the Swing Round Podcast, presented by Round By Round Boxing