Rematch and unification battles lead stacked April 26 card
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada will meet in a rematch for the WBC and Ring magazine Super-Flyweight titles and WBA and IBF Super-Bantamweight World Champions Daniel Roman and TJ Doheny clash in a unification battle on a blockbuster night of action at The Forum, Los Angeles on Friday April 26, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.
Rungvisai (47-4-1 41KOs) and Estrada (38-3 26KOs) clashed at the LA venue in February 2018 and delivered a memorable all-action affair that saw Rungvisai defeat Estrada by Majority Decision to retain his WBC Super-Flyweight title.
Pound for pound Thai star Rungvisai, who recently penned a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA, successfully defended his title for the third time in October on home turf against Iran Diaz, while Mexican ace Estrada enters the bout on the back of wins over Felipe Orucata at The Forum in September and Victor Mendez in Carson, California in December.
“I am extremely excited and honored to be back fighting in the US again,” said Rungvisai. “Estrada is a great fighter, and we had an amazing fight last year. Our round 12 was awarded Round of the Year by WBC. That is an evidence of how entertaining the previous fight was.
“I believe that this fight on April 26 will be even more entertaining. I am training extremely hard in Thailand. And I am confident I will be the winner on April 26th.
“Thank you to Matchroom Boxing and DAZN for this amazing opportunity, it’s such a great honor to be fighting for them. I also would like to thank WBC, NKL Team, and 360 Promotions for making this possible. I can’t wait to give a great fight to all the fans on April 26th!”
Roman (26-2-1 10KOs) and Doheny (21-0 15KOs) clash in a unification bout that is certain to entertain. Roman was one of the standout fighters of 2018, winning a wide points decision in the first defense of his WBA crown in Japan over Ryo Matsumoto in February and followed that with another authoritative points triumph over Moises Flores in Frisco, Dallas in June.
The LA man then punctuated his year’s work by stopping Brit challenger Gavin McDonnell in the tenth round of their clash on the first American boxing bill live on DAZN in October, and now looks to make a flying start to 2019 against IBF king Doheny.
Doheny’s path has echoes of his opponents as like Roman, the Australian-based Irishman travelled to Japan to land his first World title when he took the strap from Ryosuke Iwasa in Tokyo in August.
The unbeaten 32-year-old signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA in January and swiftly made his first defense in New York against Ryohei Takahashi, stopping the Japanese in the 11th round at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, with Roman watching in the crowd.
“This is the biggest and most important fight of my career,” Roman said. “I haven’t been shy about wanting to unifying the division. This is the fight that I’ve been asking for since I became a World Champion. I need to deliver on my goal of becoming the best and a win against another World Champion puts me in that conversation.
“It will be a new experience for me because I’m not fighting a challenger, I’m fighting another belt holder. It’s exciting in a lot of ways. I’ll be at my best because I’m planning to add another title on April 26.
“It feels pretty damn good to fight in front of my hometown fans. My last five fights have been away from home, but I don’t feel any added pressure in this homecoming of sorts. I know I have a job to do. Nothing is easy at this point. It’s going to be a heck of a fight. Two World Champions fighting for control of the division. What more could you want?”
“Danny is one of those rare boxers that is motivated and committed to fighting the very best,” said Ken Thompson, President, Thompson Boxing Promotions. “He understands the risks that he is taking, but that’s what drives him. Against Doheny, he gets to show the world what he’s made of. It will be a tough fight, but one that Danny is more than capable of winning. We expect him to fight his fight and come out with another win and another World title.”
“This was my ideal scenario,” said Doheny. “Get the voluntary defense out of the way, then go straight into the unification, so great work from my team, and Eddie Hearn with Matchroom Boxing USA for getting this fight on. It’s unbelievable, it would mean the World to me. It’s just another boxed ticked, after I won the World title, the next goal was to become a unified Champion. I’m looking forward to achieving that.
“We met in the ring after the fight in New York, and there was a lot of respect for each other. That’s the way it should be. We’re two World class fighters, two World Champions in the division. A fight like this doesn’t need any false hype, I think that when you’ve got two World class fighters like this that’s enough of a selling point for a high-calibre fight like this
“Danny’s a great fighter, he adds a lot of pressure, he’s a great puncher, great punch selection, he’s got it all really. It’s going to be a great fight between us, and I won’t be surprised if the fans get to see a bit of a war. Fighting Danny in his home city, that doesn’t bother me. I’ve been fighting on the road my whole career, so it will be no different to me. It’s me and him in the ring, and it’s going to be all action.”
A stacked card in support of the huge World title double-header is led by Jessie Vargas’ move to 154lbs. The Las Vegas-based LA man (28-2-2 10KOs) headlined the aforementioned Chicago show in an entertaining clash with Thomas Dulorme, a draw the outcome after 12 pulsating rounds for the WBC Silver Welterweight title, where a last round knockdown cost Vargas the win.
The 29-year-old will start the journey on becoming a three-weight World Champion on April 26 and will have a new but familiar face in his corner with the bout marking his first fight under hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach.
Roach will be a busy man on the night, with former Super-Bantamweight World Champion Scott Quigg returning to action. The English star (35-2-2 26KOs) returned to winning ways in Boston in October with a spiteful second round stoppage of Mario Briones, and will be on familiar ground in LA where he trains with Roach and shared a bruising fast-paced battle with WBO Featherweight ruler Oscar Valdez last March.
Unbeaten Super-Middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr is set for a breakout year and will fight for his first title on the bill. Sims (17-0 16 KOs), who is in action in Peterborough, England on Saturday night live on DAZN and Sky Sports, clocked three stoppage wins in the second half of 2018, and will look to convert that momentum in style in first the UK and then in LA.
Shakhram Giyasov (7-0 6KOs) and Diego Pacheco (2-0 1KO) landed wins in Tijuana, Mexico this weekend and will fight on the bill, while Eddie Hearn’s latest addition to his blossoming stable of young USA talents, Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, will make his pro debut on the card.
“I’m proud to announce this huge card for our first show in LA,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Rungvisai vs. Estrada was one of the fights of the year in 2018 and fans can expect another war on April 26 for the WBC and Ring Magazine World titles.
“LA’s Danny Roman attempts to unify the division against IBF champ TJ Doheny and two division World Champion Jessie Vargas returns under his new trainer Freddie Roach as he begins his quest to win World titles in three different weight classes.
“Former World champ Scott Quigg returns to LA after his war with Oscar Valdez and unbeaten Super Middleweight star Anthony Sims Jr challenges for his first title. This is one of the cards of 2019 to date and fight fans can expect a wonderful show at the Forum and live on DAZN and Sky Sports.”
An announcement on ticket details will be made at the launch press conference in LA next Tuesday.