Juan Francisco Estrada Positive For Covid 19- Chocolatito Bout Off
The continuing spread of the Omicron variant of Covid 19 has, once again, affected a world title bout. This, after overnight news Tuesday that WBA World Super Flyweight title holder Juan Francisco Estrada has tested positive for Coronavirus. And, that means he’s out for a trilogy bout March 5th with Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in San Diego.
It’s unclear, as to whether Matchroom Boxing will try to salvage the date and the main event with a replacement opponent for Chocolatito or delay the third fight longer?
However, Boxingscene’s Jake Donovan reported early Tuesday that there is a contingency being discussed involving WBA “regular” 115 lb. champ Joshua Franco,
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) January 25, 2022
San Antonio’s Franco (18-1-2, 8KOs) is ready to go should event handlers choose to proceed with the show.”I’m ready to step in for (Estrada) in this fight with Chocolatito,” Franco told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve been waiting for this chance as I’m the best in the division and will prove it.
Franco claimed his version of the WBA junior bantamweight title following a June 2020 twelve-round, unanimous decision win over then-unbeaten Andrew Moloney. The bout kicked off an unlikely trilogy, with their November 2020 rematch mired in controversy and ending in a No-Decision after two rounds. Franco won the third fight via unanimous decision last August, at which time he was assured by the WBA of being next in line for a mandatory title shot….
As the Estrada-Gonzalez would already be mandated to next face Franco as the mandatory challenger, switching the order would make perfect sense.
“Joshua Franco is ready and [has] been in the gym,” noted Rick Mirigian, Franco’s manager. “I’m waiting by the phone, Eddie Hearn for Golden Boy Promotions (Joshua’s promoter) for us to get it done. It’s the perfect step in and a bigger fight all things considered.”
So, Franco is definitely an option as a replacement opponent for the former two-division world champ Chocolatitio. He’s 50-3, 41 KOs and is one of the most exciting knockout fighters in the world at the smallest classes.
He and Estrada fought a thrilling, action punching bout in Texas last March with Estrada nosing out Gonzalez on a decision.
Another option for a replacement could have been either Carlos Cuadras or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, but those two are now headlining the Matchroom/DAZN show coming in 10 days for February 5th in Phoenix battling for the vacant WBC 115 lb. title. Clearly, the winner of that bout will be in a position for a unification fight later in 2022.
Sor Rungvisai owns two previous wins over Chocolatito, including a brutal KO in their rematch.
Now, we wait for Matchroom and the Gonzalez and the Franco camps to make up their minds on what to do or not with March 5th?