On Saturday, September 3, 2022, Juan Francisco Estrada (43-3, 28 KOs) returned to the ring after 18 months on the sideline. The challenger was relatively unknown fighter, Argi Cortes (23-3-2, 10 KOs).
A close and competitive fight, Estrada took the unanimous decision victory over Cortes with scores of 115-112, 115-112 and 114-113.
“I was really surprised and didn’t expect him to come out like that,” said Estrada after his victory. “I have almost double the fights that he does.”
Although Cortes started strong in the first few rounds, it wasn’t really until the fight moved into the middle rounds that we started to realize that Estrada was in with a tougher-than-expected opponent.
Cortes showed the ability to trade big shots with Estrada in Round 5 and even seemed to buzz Gallo on a few occasions.
In Round 7, Estrada was finally able to take control with a calculated attack that included a stiff jab, followed by a straight to the head that rocked Cortes’ head back, and then a beautiful left hook liver shot that dropped the challenger.
Thanks to open scoring, we knew that heading into Round 9, Estrada was up 77-74 on two cards, while Cortes was up on one card 77-74.
Cortes fought valiantly, but the effects of the body shot that dropped him in the seventh lingered for a few rounds, allowing Gallo to really take control and bring home the victory down the stretch.
After the fight, Gallo was immediately asked about the fight everyone is waiting for–a third scrap with Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
“We came out clean with no injuries, which is what we wanted” said Estrada. “So yes, that fight will happen at the beginning of December.”
While interviewing Estrada, ringside reporter Claudia Trejos was told in her earpiece that the official date for the Estrada vs. Chocolatito trilogy bout will be December 3.
“We’ll be ready for that date, God willing,” said Estrada.
Even in defeat, Cortes showed that he can certainly hang at the championship level and should get more opportunities in the future.