“Superfly 2” on HBO: The L.A. Kickoff

LOS ANGELES – Several of the participants of “Superfly 2” gathered on Tuesday including Juan Francisco Estrada, Brian Viloria, Carlos Cuadras and McWilliams Arroyo at the Palm Restaurant.

In the kickoff to 360 Promotions inaugural boxing event Tom Loeffler has compiled another strong boxing card with many of the best super flyweights to face each other on Feb. 24, at the Inglewood Forum in Southern California. HBO will televise.

Out-of-the-box thinking is Loeffler’s cup of tea.

Putting together a fight card highlighting boxers weighing less than 147 pounds has rarely taken place in the U.S. Even rarer are prizefighters weighing less than 115 pounds.

But that’s exactly what happened when Loeffler put together “Superfly 1” last summer at the StubHub Center. It was an explosive success.

Now comes batch two.

Superfly 2

Thailand’s surprising Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40 KOs) defends the WBC super flyweight world title he took from Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and then defended last year in their rematch with a smashing knockout. It was unexpected, yet it was thrilling to see another face emerge on the major fight scene.

Sor Rungvisai was not present at the press conference but his challenger “El Gallo” Estrada did indeed participate.

Estrada (36-2, 25 KOs) made his second appearance in the Los Angeles area last September when he fought Carlos Cuadras in another thrilling 12-round fight. Every round was riveting as the two changed tactics and exchanged blows with remarkable alacrity. Now he has Sor Rungvisai in front of him.

“I want to impress everyone,” said the soft-spoken Estrada who first appeared on a Los Angeles fight card in 2012 against “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in an impressive battle at the now demolished L.A. Memorial Sports Arena. “It’s a great fight matchup.”

Cuadras (36-2-1, 27 KOs), who lost to Estrada by close decision at the first Superfly tournament, changed trainers and now works with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear. The popular fighter faces Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo.

“I’m happy and motivated with a great trainer like Abel Sanchez,” said Cuadras, a former super flyweight world titlist. “I have the medicine in these fists to defeat the Puerto Rican.”

Cuadras is a natural hype machine and though he wields a quick tongue he also has superb boxing ability. Now he has Sanchez in his corner.

“His undisciplined manner has cost him some fights with conditioning,” said Sanchez regarding Cuadras. “He’s coming out for this one.”

Arroyo is making his second appearance in L.A. His first venture was also against Chocolatito Gonzalez back in April 2016 at the Forum. He’s looking for a win this time. The stakes are big.

“A win can be a great boon to my career,” said Arroyo who is a former Olympian for Puerto Rico and is fighting for the first time at 115 pounds. “Let’s see who wins.”

Flyweights

Also making a return to the Superfly tournament will be another former Olympian, Brian Viloria. He participated in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in Australia.

“He’s the only participant remaining from the 2000 Olympics still active,” said Loeffler.

Viloria (38-5, 23 KOs) was a winner by knockout at the first Superfly tournament. Now he’s fighting for a fifth world title at age 37. Very few prizefighters under 118 pounds survive into their late 30s, let along fight for a world title.

The Hawaiian native meets Ukraine’s undefeated Artem Dalakian (15-0, 11 KOs) for the vacant WBA world flyweight title.

“I’ve been fighting professionally for the last 17 years,” said Viloria. “I’m still learning my craft.”

One thing learned by Loeffler’s out-of-the-box thinking is that little guys can bang. That’s why HBO has signed on for the encore.

“Last year Superfly delivered such high level action we were excited to do Superfly again,” said Tony Walker, vice president of HBO.

Tickets begin at $30 for the Feb. 24 event at the Forum. They can be purchased at the Forum or through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

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