WBA Orders Juan Francisco Estrada vs Joshua Franco Title Unification

How This Decision Immediately Impacts the Junior Bantamweight Division

Juan Francisco Estrada and Joshua Franco each with a fist raised
Juan Francisco Estrada (left), Joshua Franco

WBA Orders Estrada v Franco to Unify the Super and Regular Titles at 115


The WBA has ordered a match between WBA Super junior bantamweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (42-3, 28 KOs) and WBA Regular champ Joshua Franco (18-1-2, 8 KOs). In a letter sent to both parties, the sanctioning body gave a March 11 deadline for the fighters to negotiate a deal. Inability to come to terms by that time will result in a purse bid.

Estrada captured the Super title with a controversial rematch win over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in March of 2021. A trilogy between the two was to happen on March 5, 2022. Estrada had to withdraw due to complications from COVID-19. Instead, Gonzalez will now face current WBC flyweight champ Julio Cesar Martinez on March 5.

The elder brother of newly crowned WBC junior bantamweight Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, Franco’s career is defined by his three-fight series with Andrew Moloney. In June 2020, Franco defeated Moloney to win the secondary WBA title. After a rematch ended in a no-decision in November of that year, Franco dominated their third fight as he defeated Moloney by clear decision in August of 2021.

SANCTIONING OBLIGATIONS MATTER

Rules are rules, but the timing of this order is interesting. If Gonzalez defeats Martinez on March 5, what does it do for a potential third bout with Estrada? Their rematch was 3Kings Boxing’s 2021 Fight of the Year. Fans were highly anticipating watching the modern-day lower-weight greats go at it again.

Now it seems that fight is not happening anytime soon. Bylaws are bylaws, and this is the WBA’s latest effort to diminish the number of champions within a division. However, followers of the sport will be disappointed by this decision. Stay tuned to 3Kings Boxing for further updates.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.1963 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.